Opening with “Truth Sets In”, we’re given a clean, almost simple melody. When the vocals finally enter at just past one minute, it solidifies Avi Buffalo‘s similarity to carefree psychedelic folk-pop. But there are a few distinct dissimilarities between the two artists that, in a way, set Avi Buffalo off in an entirely different direction. And for that, you have to experience the band’s self-titled LP in the aggregate. It begins, again, in “Truth Sets In”; those occasional flirts with electric guitar demonstrate a greater plane of musicianship.
Avi Buffalo retains the similarities in the lower register, but when the band takes it up a notch, as heard in “What’s In It For”, the similarities disintegrate. All that remains is their collective ability to write a powerful, catchy tune. Songs like “Can’t I Know?” and “Where’s Your Dirty Mind?” have a hint of psychedelic jam to them, a sound that wouldn’t seem so out of place four decades ago. It is in these moments that Avi Buffalo shows their true colors — the heightened instrumental skill coupled with immensely catchy vocal hooks nears perfection. Also different is the subject matter, with song titles like “Summer Cum” and “Five Little Sluts”. Not very Nau, now is it?
I keep coming back to something here, and it has to do with the label on which Avi Buffalo is on, Sub Pop. They’ve given us quite a few quality releases so far this year, including the Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore LP, Dum Dum Girls, and the new one by The Ruby Suns. Not to mention perhaps my favorite album so far in 2010 — Teen Dream by Beach House. Avi Buffalo is right up there with Beach House and Dum Dum Girls, denoting that 2010 may be Sub Pop’s best year yet.
And as the band harmonizes repetitively in “Remember Last Time” — I’ve never written a love song / I’ve never written a love song / I’ve never written a love song / But I will for you… — and as those words fade into the best guitar solo of the year thus far (with possible exception to “Poor Man’s Daughter” by Retribution Gospel Choir’s 2, also on Sub Pop) these words ring ever more true.
Download: “What’s In It For” by Avi Buffalo
Sub Pop [CD, 2010]
1. Truth Sets In
2. What’s In It For
4. Five Little Sluts
6. Summer Cum
7. One Last
8. Can’t I Know?
9. Remember Last Time
10. Where’s Your Dirty Mind?