February 28, 2018 Buffalo Tom – Quiet and Peace (Album Review)
Twenty-five years ago, they released their breakthrough album, spawning what became their most popular, chart-topping songs, “Sodajerk” and “I’m Allowed.” They followed this up with four albums more, from 1995’s Sleepy Eyed to 2011’s Skin; and then they went on a hiatus.
Now, the band that was formed in 1986, in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, by Bill Janovitz (vocals, guitar), Chris Colbourn (bass), and Tom Maginnis (drums) is back again, with a new album in tow! This should be exciting, especially for the trio’s longtime fans and enthusiasts of the entire ’90s Alternative Rock, for the forthcoming, ninth full-length of their band known as Buffalo Tom is what may be described as a return to the Heartland sound of their youthful sonic exuberance.
Slated for release on Friday, March 2, 2018 thanks to Scrawny/Schoolkids Records, Quiet and Peace – Buffalo Tom’s new offering – opens with the upbeat, torch-bright “All Be Gone,” emanating the energy of Big Red Letter Day’s “Dry Land.” The ensuing hymnal “Overtime” then takes the listener to a quiet trek to the countryside, only to drive him again on a breezy, nostalgic ride with “Roman Cars,” into the much-missed ’90s sound of Buffalo Tom. Another wistful but sunny, strum-oriented track plays next in the form of the piano-adorned “Freckles,” which is steeped with oh-so-sweet melodies. “CatVMouse” then follows aptly, as it smoothly flows with its bluesy chops and folky tendencies.
“Lonely Fast and Deep” returns Quiet and Peace to the big red jubilant heyday of the ’90s – vibrant, frenetic, and engaging; with a standout guitar ad-lib that will remind the initiated of the mind-glowing riffs of J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. (“I Don’t Think So”). The mood then turns reflective and romantic with a pair of poetically worded Alternative Rock ballads, “See High the Hemlock Grows” and “In the Ice.” These songs will fit seamlessly onto a playlist that include Soul Asylum’s “Black Gold,” Gin Blossoms’ “Pieces of the Night,” and Counting Crows’ “Round Here.”
Nearing the end of the peaceful yet exciting journey comes “Least That We Can Do,” galloping with its rolling drum beats, guitar drone, spacey melodies, and Janovitz’s familiar and homely drawls. The penultimate track, “Slow Down,” true to its title, is a generally mid-tempo track which explodes into smithereens of Grunge-inspired guitars, but subdued enough to complement the underlying bed of Hammond organ, angular rhythm section, and sufficient melodiousness; the initiated might recall faint echoes of Love Spit Love’s “Fall on Tears,” R.E.M.’s “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite,” and The Lemonheads’ “The Outdoor Type.”
Finally, Buffalo Tom wrap up Quiet and Peace solemnly with their heartwarming Alternative Country rendition of the 1970 Folk classic “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon & Garfunkel.
Albeit thirty-years away from its very first predecessor and seven years from the last one, Buffalo Tom’s new batch of usually melodic and emotionally inspired Alternative Rock ballads and stompers is as refreshing and engaging as the American band’s memorable songs from the previous decades. Nevertheless, the equally compelling lyrical themes of Quiet and Peace prove also that Janovitz, Colbourn, and Maginnis with their music have been able to remain rustic but relevant at the same time amidst the ever-changing landscapes and dynamics of Alternative Rock music. CrypticRock gives Quiet and Peace 4 out of 5 stars.