Review Summary: A disturbing, cute look into the magical life of youth.
Avi Buffalo are an Indie Pop band from California and this is their debut, self-titled LP ‘Avi Buffalo’, a ten track wonder which branches many influences such as The Shins and slight sounds that are relatable to that of MGMT. That’s not to say Avi Buffalo are a totally unoriginal group. As well as their influences, they hold a certain quality of their own, an obscure sense of fiction within reality.
Let me explain firstly before breaking down the track-list and what I thought of them. It is important that I do a good job of explaining this sense of mystery within the record as it is the very key to my opinion of the band as a whole. So here it goes.
In many ways; ‘Avi Buffalo’ is a love record. Though it is cute, harmless, it is equally at times quite explicit. Overall, it’s cool. However what we also have here is a battle between reality and fiction. Reality being represented through the lyrics and fiction; through the magical music. It is a record that manages to make the habitual; the typical lives of a young adult appear to be a trip down the yellow brick road. Taking such lines as “I think you're over this, but I'm not finished with your kisses
I know it's not allowed, but you sure didn't seem to mind” and blending them with this music that sounds like, both in texture and mystery, like magic.
Every sound within ‘Avi Buffalo’ is a trippy world where anything can happen, but thanks to the lyrics, we find ourselves in reality. A reality where one can move mountains with their hearts. It’s something very special that Avi Buffalo, as a band, have crafted.
This aside, it’s all about the music, right? Right!
And in terms of content, Avi Buffalo deliver with a sturdy and diverse LP. The opener is ‘Truth Sets In’. A standout from most tracks. It’s a simple track both in structure and lyrics but it’s this simplicity that helps it shine. The slight crooning from the guitars that sounds like a ray of sunshine on the brightest morning of summer. The keyboard that compliments the vocals and the clapping which high-fives the drumming all makes it not only a stand out from the album but a track that overall, is loveable regardless of what you prefer to listen to.
Next is ‘What’s It In For?’ the single of the album and what a fitting single indeed. Largely due to the great hooks the chorus has to offer. My only gripe is that it has most similarities to The Shins and may label them as uncreative, which isn’t the case at all. Musically it’s of good length, though there isn’t much in the way of diversity. It’s still a magical, yet trippy track with wailing backing vocals over the crying vocalist “What’s it in for someone with nothing to do.”
It is a track I recommend but don’t start with it.
And next to the start of an already outstanding album comes ‘Coaxed’, which is my personal favourite track on the album. Like ‘Truth Sets In’, it is a soft track with a lot of clapping and happiness going on. The song keeps its own pace with some lyrical beauty dabbed here and there.
“The jade servant spits the moon from stories as high as you”. The ending though is what takes it for me. A wonderful expression of the talent the band have to offer in what sounds like a take at smooth jazz, humorous equally as it feels like a depiction of teens maturing in terms of musical taste.
Up next are ‘Five Little Sluts’ and ‘Jessica’ that may differ in theme as Five Little Sluts deals with a more personal one, while Jessica is the subject of ‘Jessica’, obviously. Both tracks may not be as powerful as the opening three, but still prove that Avi Buffalo know what they are doing in terms of track-listing.
Five Little Sluts is harsh at times towards the start, in a perfect blend of beauty and disaster while its ending diverges to a cheerful, tongue and cheek crescendo.
‘Jessica’ on the other hand is constantly building with the same hook and the same tune. It’s actually wonderful and never, to me feels boring. The lyrics are straight forward and simple. It’s actually genius that they are. Making Jessica; as a person far more realistic, as Avi Zahner-Isenberg appears to be talking to her while we listen in from a gapped door.
‘Summer Cum ‘and ‘Can’t I know?’ are the only tracks I would question. While they are right up my alley, I’m aware they may not appeal to anyone. This simply because they never deal with more than the initially intend. It’s really a case of take it or leave it. Thankfully, the last two tracks, sorry, behemoths ‘Remember Last Time...’ and ‘Where’s Your Dirty Mind?’ arrive next.
‘Remember Last Time’ is a big one. Likely to be their next single, if they so plan on doing so. Despite its length, it really never feels tired, changing numerous times in terms of sound, tempo and theme, starting with a rather poppy sound overall to a more devilish, serious one towards the end. It’s rather clever to be honest. For me however, it is the line “I’ve never written a love song but I will for you” that steals the show. What a quotable, beautiful written line, legendary in terms of spectrum for most young adults. One should hear it more often.
Finally, ‘Where’s Your Dirty Mind? Is a beautiful ballad, actually, it is more of a soundtrack for every broken heart, every young man or woman who feels small in this vast world. It’s the soundtrack to their impending triumph. Though it may sound quite timid and shy, it is only to match that of the listener who likely feels the same way.
Notice I have skipped past ‘One Last’ and that’s because I want to make a short note of the lead vocalist on the chorus who in herself, carries the entire song. Honestly.
Anyway, that is what I think of the record, an accurate depiction of the young and lonely in a magical world of their own.
“All this time to die, all this time to die, too much time to die”
I hope you give it a listen; it’s something rather special for those who really listen to it.