Maybe it’s their jeans, maybe it’s their pastel-bloomed album art, but Avi Buffalo seem like a band you’d be listening to in the middle of August circa 2006. Their self-titled has that distinct blend of pastoral folk and modern indie rock (see: Sufjan, Wilco, M. Ward) that dominated the new sounds of the aughties, and their Shins-y, skimpy studio knob-twisting don’t leave anything to be discerned.
The record is still gorgeous, of course; these guitars are fine-tuned to batter the already-spent synapses that force you to play “Chicago” when you’re feeling antsy. But they never hit that level of pure, genuine effectiveness. These are pretender, off-brand melodies for the most part, but only to the trained eye. Disarmed from any “originality” pretensions, these songs are still mathematically great, their timeless elements still build into towering compositions, especially the seven-minute Southern-flavored “Remember Last Time.” The album is anything but vital, but you’ll find something to like here, unless you’re jaded enough to dismiss something based off of influence; in which case, why are you listening to music anyway?
(Sub Pop Records, 2013 4th Avenue, 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA 98121)