Buffalo Tom: Big Red Letter Day

bigredletterdayHootie And The Blowfish. Counting Crows. Later-era Goo Goo Dolls. Later-era Soul Asylum. Del Amitri. The Rembrandts. These are the feel-good country-tinged rock acts I’ve got listed in my notes as being who Buffalo Tom reminds me of on their 1993 release, Big Red Letter Day. So then the question arises: Was this derivative of everything else of its time, or vice-versa?

I don’t know. Probably the latter. But anway…

Another reason this smacks so fiercely of 1993 is that it sounds like it could have come off of No Alternative or Sweet Relief or some huge compilation album like that. And, as it turns out, after writing that I checked, and Buffalo Tom did appear on both of those albums. Furthermore, in both cases, their songs received a “mix” rating from me. Huynh.

And, you know, I think that helps illustrate another aspect of this album. I really like the first few songs off this album…whether I listen to it on shuffle or straight through, I usually really dig the first few tracks. But even though it’s only 41 minutes long, by about six or seven tracks I’m usually kind feeling like, yeah, I got it guys. You’re like a less-edgy Sugar.

So, yeah, this album is pretty good and super comfortable. I felt like I knew every song off of it. I had some friends in college really into Buffalo Tom, so maybe that had something to do with it, but I don’t think it can explain that sensation over the course of a full album. No, this is really well written, really tightly performed, and produced really slick. But it’s definitely not timeless: that slick production puts it so firmly in 1993 that I can’t hear it and not feel like I’m in a Wash. U. dorm.

Really Like: “I’m Allowed,” “Tree House,” “Anything That Way”
Like: “Sodajerk,” “Would Not Be Denied,” “Latest Monkey,” “Dry Land,” “Torch Singer,” “Late At Night,” “Suppose”
Dislike: “My Responsibility”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Sodajerk – is this too country for me? it definitely comes off too wussy, spesh right after i’ve been listing to Sleater-Kinney “jerk my fountain/ice cream mountain”
  2. I’m Allowed – god this sounds like it must have been off of Sweet Relief or No Alternative or something. Okay, I just looked it up and Buffalo Tom was on both of those, both times getting a mix CD candidate review from me
  3. Tree House – gets terrible at end
  4. Would Not Be Denied – slow it down. so of its time. great guitar. crackly sound
  5. Latest Monkey –
  6. My Responsibility – boring. too many syllables. can do without.
  7. Dry Land –
  8. Torch Singer – “big red letter day”
  9. Late At Night – great solo
  10. Suppose – Can I like this with reservations? Honestly it’s hard to meh something when it’s performed with this much commitment, even when it’s a bit Hootie.
  11. Anything That Way – kinda dig. “when things got broken you came”. “Mailman came this way today” and in retrospect that seems like a line that was pretty well played out and anachronistic even in 1993.

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