Avi Buffalo - At Best Cuckold

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2014-09-08

Back in 2010 Avi Buffalo, fronted by teenager Avi Zahner-Isenberg, released an enjoyably light slice of summer thanks to some soaring falsetto vocals and sweet guitar playing. Now, four years later, their sophomore effort arrives at the end of one to bring more tales of loneliness and loss that serve as a perfect way to herald the coming winter armed with bouncy indie-pop melodies.

With lead single

opening the album, you could be forgiven for thinking the repetitive chorus and fuzzier riffs might take the group in a new direction. Thankfully, the melodic ‘Memories of You’ follows, as bright and breezy as anything on their debut, before we reach the album’s mid-point at which things get much more interesting.

Whether that’s the brief acoustic charm of ‘Two Cherished Understandings’ or the soft musings of ‘Overwhelmed With Pride’, complete with sing-a-long chorus and choral backing, it’s here that Zahner-Isenberg and his crew emerge sound their most like a less wacky and more laid-back Flaming Lips.

Channelling some 90s Mercury Rev and a touch of California’s finest, the likes of ‘Think It’s Going to Happen Again’ and ‘Oxygen Tank’ give off a more sombre Beach Boys-esque air. It’s hard to imagine Brian Wilson singing about how "Couple of nights ago I ran over two dogs/ then I ate them after", or fears of an asthmatic coming to murder a whole family, but there’s a charm to the vocals that makes it feel strangely warm and comforting.

Odd then that the latter doesn’t close the album, especially when it launches into full prog-rock instrumental to finish. On this evidence, let’s hope closer ‘Won’t Be Around No More’ is just a title and not a statement of intent.

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