Avi Buffalo
Avi Buffalo


3.5
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
August 8th, 2010 | 19 replies | 5,897 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Adolescent love has rarely been this cute.

Following a hype train can be a dangerous thing. Follow the right one and you can end up discovering something new and revitalizing, like a Surfer Blood or a Tallest Man on Earth. Follow the wrong one and you could spend hours convincing yourself to like the newest Black Kids CD because, well, dozens of bloggers can’t be wrong! When precocious Long Beach young ‘uns Avi Buffalo released their anticipated debut earlier this year, they had all the prerequisites for their own hype machine: hot single(s), Pitchfork approval, a fairly surprising rating on Metacritic (82!). I listened to one song, judged them as an early Shins knock-off and promptly forgot about them. That’s the problem with hype – too much of it and you go into the listen expecting something utterly mind-blowing, something that will live up to an almost mythic status all this blogosphere talk builds up yet rarely matches. Avi Buffalo is not mind-blowing, nor is it even one of the best debuts I’ve heard this year. Simply put, it’s great, solid indie-pop music, music that merely portends the arrival of a band that has more potential than most their age and some pretty slick songwriting chops.

I really wanted to give this a higher rating, particularly after hearing gems like opener “Truth Sets In” or “Coaxed,” songs that replicate the gentle flow of (yes) early Shins or debut-album Noah and the Whale. It’s twee without being overly cute, something hard to do when your band is besieged everywhere they go by the constant addendum “but they’re only 19!!!” Excellently-named vocalist Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg sounds just like a dozen other indie-pop vocalists, having mastered the art of the high-pitched, fragile whisper and the occasional faux falsetto, but it’s the songwriting that elevates Avi Buffalo from the also-rans. “What’s In It For?” is a fantastic pop single, marrying a beautiful melody to a stick-in-your-head hook and the kind of instant accessibility that future MTV-show soundtracks are made of. That’s not a knock on the band’s obvious penchant for writing songs everyone is interested in nowadays, but a testament to how well the songs click. It helps that Isenberg is actually quite the guitar player, making the unexpected fretwork on tunes like “Jessica” and “Remember Last Time” the highlights rather than the strong pop foundations the songs are built on. Even when the solos go on a bit too long, as they do most egregiously on the 7-and-a-half-minute “Remember Last Time,” Isenberg’s jangly guitar work is pleasant enough to forgive the youthful wankery.

But then there’s songs like the lackluster “Can’t I Know” or the way too much of the latter half of the album bleeds together, something that can’t really be avoided when Avi Buffalo stick strictly to their inoffensive guitar-pop formula throughout. While “Where’s Your Dirty Mind” and “One Last” are good songs in their own right, it’s obvious that Avi Buffalo is a front-loaded record, with the best melodies ending with “Summer Cum.” That last is another divisive issue with the band, being the clearest example of Isenberg’s juvenile lyrical bent. But hey, he’s young, and although in the future he might try a more diplomatic approach to describing adolescent love, it’s nonetheless impressive that Isenberg can turn sheet stains into one of the sweeter love songs of the year. Avi Buffalo wear their musical influences on their sleeves (Built To Spill, the aforementioned Shins, Elephant 6, etc. etc.), and their lyrical direction is more Superbad than J.D. Salinger, but it’s charming without being cloying, poppy without being overly sugary. Most importantly, it’s the kind of debut that leaves you thrilled for what the future may bring, and that’s something special.



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user ratings (55)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Steve (4.5)
A disturbing, cute look into the magical life of youth....

SterlingBlack (4.5)
Avi Buffalo have been getting plenty of critical acclaim but, in my opinion, not enough......

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Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2010



10000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

throwback

Ponton
Emeritus
August 8th 2010



5775 Comments


I usually keep an eye on metacritic to see whats doing good critically and what not, but i must have overlooken this.

I may give it a shot

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

IAJP
August 8th 2010



378 Comments


cool album this, do like your review too.

Kiran
Emeritus
August 8th 2010



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

one of the most easygoing records of the year

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2010



14884 Comments


im seeing these guys live

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 8th 2010



10000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

easygoing is the perfect description for this

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2010



7234 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I quite liked this, need to listen again when I have time though. Good review.

NeutralThunder12
August 8th 2010



8742 Comments


coolest band name ever

mmfarva
August 9th 2010



1352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is the first review for this? That's a damn shame. I really enjoy this record and look forward to their future work. I especially like the keyboardist's vocals, they add an extra bit of depth that is awesome.

Also, they were great opening for Modest Mouse.

MBS
August 10th 2010



83 Comments


cool, nice to see these guys on sputnik

Douglas
August 10th 2010



8984 Comments


would like this rudy?

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2010



10000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i think so, it's pretty easy to like

alachlahol
August 11th 2010



7423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

aside from the prepubescent boy vocals, this is pretty cool

astrel
August 11th 2010



2613 Comments


I really like the drumming in this band.

timbo8
August 21st 2010



618 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

iiiii actually am not a big fan of this. It's pleasant and easygoing, but for me it's been largely forgettable, and none of the other tracks are half as engaging as "What's It In For", which is great.

ChrisStingray1224
September 19th 2010



22 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

These guys are so talented that it scares me how they will sound when their older. I believe this band is in their late teens and they have better maturity and material then veteran bands.

lancebramsay
March 24th 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album just keeps getting better for me. Started at 3.5 and slowly weaseled it's way up.

Steoandnoodles
June 16th 2011



2832 Comments


They've a new single out called 'How Come?' Mail list subscribers get a free download of it. It
officially comes out on the 28th of this month.
It's way more raw in terms of production but classic Avi Buffalo jazz pop sounds are still there.

Reminds me of 'Can't I Know?'

Steoandnoodles
July 31st 2011



2832 Comments


Safe to say I'm the only hyped for their second album?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czZfuU0w-Ro&feature=channel_video_title

Here are some songs likely to appear on the second album.



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