Buffalo Tom are a band that deserves a bit of rediscovering.
Ian Wade 2009-05-22
Of most bands in the history of time and indie, many questions are asked of the whys and wherefores. One of time and indie’s biggest mysteries however, is why Buffalo Tom weren’t huge. The Boston-hailing threesome of Bill Janovitz, Chris Colbourn and Tom Maginnis released seven albums during their career with Let Me Come Over being one of the highlights, although sadly never really troubled the chart compilers to any major degree, although were a favourite live turn throughout their existence and were greeted as returning heroes when they released their last album in 2007.
Originally released in 1992, Let Me Come Over fell into the slipstream of interesting albums by Americans that occurred in the post-Nirvana era. Bill Janovitz was one of the era’s more thoughtful songwriters. After Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis had co-produced the first two albums, the Buffs turned to Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade, whose susbsequent commission was a debut album by some bunch named Radiohead, who in turn brought out a more layered sound rather than the J Mascis-produced era, which some wags dismissed as Dinosaur Jr Jr.
Janovitz’s songs suggested a deeper take on the usual indie fare - slightly more intense than your Lemonheads, not as drunk on soul as Afghan Whigs, but not quite the self-loathing of Nirvana – and Let Me Come Over highlights his genius at its best. Velvet Roof was the first single to be lifted from the album, and along with Porchlight and Mineral, showcased their new maturity, but it was stand-out total classic Taillights Fade that made their name and allowed a wider sector of the record buying public to appreciate the essence of Buffalo Tom.
Buffalo Tom are a band that deserves a bit of rediscovering, and if you’re looking for a way in, then this or the follow-up Big Red Letter Day should be your first ports of call.