Buffalo Tom – Quiet and Peace (Album Review)

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.

Purchase Quiet and Peace:

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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