Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)

David Spencer | Wednesday, 05 May 2010

Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)

All high-pitched vocals and jangling guitars, Avi Buffalo have been picking up a lot of critical acclaim recently. But this type of lauding has to be treated with caution, as muso reviewers get overly excited about certain types of music, especially if it is folky sounding and hairy looking (Midlake, Fleet Foxes to name just two).

But in fact Avi Buffalo are not hairy at all, and not entirely folky. They are four very fresh-faced Americans, led by a guy called Avi (short for Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg), who lean towards the sun drenched acoustic moments of the Seventies, with some psychedelia thrown in (as the cover of the album implies with its flash of colours).

Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg got into music after an injury halted his bid for skateboarding stardom, and so the half-pipe was replaced with the guitar. But he doesn't seem to have taken with him any of the music styles you might associate with Grinding and 360s. Instead he seems to have been listening to Neil Young (unplugged) and The Byrds.

Friendly summer guitars begin 'Truth Sets In', the album's opener, which introduces us to the slightly pained male-female vocal combination that could prove annoying for many listeners. It also let's us know ehat's to come. 'What's In It For' beefs up the tone a little bit, but over the jangly guitars and gentle drums, the voices still sound full of angst, making you question whether the band really enjoy their sunny surroundings.

Overall the music hides the band's youth, with intricate structures and interesting little flourishes emerging after each listen, but a couple of the song titles can't hide their ages, with 'Five Little Sluts' and 'Summer Cum' not the sort of titles someone more established would come out with.

'Remember The Last Time' is the album's longest track, coming in at more than seven minutes and it's also the most impressive. More up-tempo than some of the more draining tracks; it starts with now familiar sounding guitars and patterned drums before building beautifully to a mid point instrumental that washes away into an exhilarating psychedelic climax.

The downside of this largely impressive debut is the lack of any real variation. And like many of these American bands that like to sing as if they are slightly constipated, the voice does grate after a while. But watch out for Avi and his Buffalo, they could be roaming around for sometime.

Rating: 3/5