Album Review: Avi Buffalo – Self-Titled

Sexual frustration has never been so endearing. Though the members of Avi Buffalo are rather young, this youth brings a lively feel to their latest self titled album. A recent Seattle Weekly article cited that lead singer/song writer Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg was signed in 2008, his senior year of high school. With a sound that reminds us why we first fell in love with The Shins and other quirky acts, Avi Buffalo has potential to be the next important, young act.

The lyrics are so engaging because of how relateable they are. Zahner-Isenberg recreates those awkward moments and confusing thoughts we all had around that “special someone” we had our eye on in high school, and heck even in the rest of our lives too. His approach is unique. He is able to keep the common pleas of desperation simple without losing any emotion or credibility with the listener.

In tracks such as the album’s equivalent of a piano ballad, “Jessica,” show this as Zahner-Isenberg sings in frustration the lines “Jessica, why do you always make it so hard. You know I’m kidding but sometimes, I feel like you’re all I’ve got.”

Other times the lyrics are more obscure and rekindles those first times when we were infatuated with someone but didn’t know how to express it. The bands breakout single “What’s In It For?” has odd ball lines like, “You are tiny and your lips are like little pieces of bacon.”

The actual music of the album is bright. The guitar has an optimistic tone. The use of glockenspiel on “Summer Cum” shows how even when the lyrics are explicit or dark, the music can carry on its own theme without everything feeling unbalanced.

The album is very poppy. While on paper Avi Buffalo seems like the most obscure, unmarketable thing possible. The fact that they are fun sounding and lively truly captures the art behind the group. The clean guitar and Zahner-Isenberg’s wobbly, endearing voice carry the music and themes through the 45 minute album.

With all the new acts coming out trying to do something original, Avi Buffalo is the prize needle in the indie rock haystack. The band has a way of connecting with the audience on the most personal level. Any band that can reawaken the most awkward memories and make them seem sentimental and approachable deserves some sort of plaque.

Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For? from Sub Pop Records on Vimeo.

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One Comment

  1. R
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Correction: Signed in 2009 after Avi graduated high school in June. The band, days after Avi and Rebecca graduated, went up to Seattle for the label to see them perform live for the first time. Offer was made and the rest is history . Drummer, Sheridan Riley is set to graduate high school this June, 2010. Arin Fazio, bass player and old man of the group, is 21 now and graduated from a Huntington Beach high school a few years ago.

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