Business as usual for a rejuvenated Buffalo Tom. Time to get out that old plaid shirt...
Rob Crossan 2007-07-13
For a band to make an album after eight years of silence you’d expect there to be some modicum of progression, but the clocks here for this Boston three piece are still very much stuck on the early 90s pop-grunge era on this, their first work since 1998’s flop Smitten.
It’s still the same jangly blue-collar bar room rock that gave the group a mid-sized following in the early nineties in an era where any 20-something male with long hair and a guitar that came out of Boston or Seattle was hunted down with rifles and forced to sign a major label contract.
Now, over a decade on, the music on Three Easy Pieces still smells of the same plaid shirt that we thought we’d thrown out along with the scuffed Doc Martens and the Eddie Vedder poster. This is not a good thing.
There’s the odd energetic workout to temporarily stymie the mannered predictability, particularly on the chiming guitar harmonies on standout track ‘'Bottom Of The River’ where a sense of the vintage bluesy growl of vintage Alex Chiltern ‘Big Star’ is echoed. ‘'Pendleton'’ is a melancholic, sparse piano led creation that speaks of wasted days with a tone reminiscent of a Ben Fold’s ballad. It proves that perhaps there is something lurking deep down which suggests that Buffalo Tom could be creating more interesting music if only they had the nerve to do something more than just re-tread some now very tired sounding boards.
The rest of the record however is a series of near identikit mid tempo rockers that have neither the abrasive lurching ferocity of Dinosaur Jnr nor the toffee-coated giddiness of the Gigolo Aunts.
There’s little here for the curious newcomer. The die-hards will be happy with this release, coming as it does off the back of reunion love-ins from Smashing Pumpkins and Dinosaur Jnr. This is a bygone irrelevance to everyone else.