its a buffalo - Don't Be Scared
Now, this one has me confused, a debut album which is described by the band as being 'very Mancunian"; but it isn't the North West of England which leaps to my mind when I hear it but rather the North East of London. I can already hear the sharpening of knives in the terraced house in Didsbury which its a buffalo share but, hold on lads, give me a chance to explain.
Now if you are a band of four lads from the north west who play guitar based pop music then you've got a weight of, heritage shall we say, to live up to. Here they come now, jingling and jangling those Rickenbackers but, I'm not hearing the Beatles, Pacemakers, La's or Roses - no I'm hearing influences from the mystical east. Well, the east end of London anyway as it is the essential energy and boundless kineticism of Tottenham boys the Dave Clark Five that appear to be the most direct lineage of this lot, with maybe a little more than a dash of Ray Davies' elan. Sure there's some Marr and Mavers in there but the "very Mancunian" tag just doesn't wash for me.
Either way, this is 'proper' pop music that your Dad danced to down the Palais - the stuff that used to get into the charts and stay there for weeks. Opening with 'Marbles' the album sets off into territory last charted by the indie disco invasion just before House music changed studenthood forever - ahh, they'd have been tugging their cardigans around the dancefloor all night to this one but those days are gone, long gone. A highlight, for me, is 'Seaslide" which could have graced any Faces album (more cockneys) and has a breezy charm which, like much of the album could be the ideal soundtrack to the summer. The influences are certainly diverse, I mean I'm sure I can hear the hook of 'Mull of Kintyre' trying to break through into 'Divorce Song', but with more hooks than a Peter Pan convention this album is bound to have a few familiar phrases pop-up.
The only time the album slips into what might be called indie by numbers is on the dynamic but predictable closer 'run and hide'. This, however, is no bad thing as I am somewhat of a fan of predictable and dynamic indie music - you know what is coming but you are happy to go along for the ride. To paraphrase Ian Duncan Smith, never underestimate the determination of a predicatable indie anthem.
So, in short, its a buffalo have made a bright, breezy debut album full of classic british guitar pop and, if only for that reason, I can forgive them for their disappointing punctuation skills. It isn't very mancunian though....(runs and hides).