Artist: Buffalo Tom (Official, Facebook, MySpace, Last.fm, AllMusic, Wikipedia)
I’ve been a fan of Buffalo Tom’s work since I saw their video for the song “Taillights Fade” on 120 Minutes nearly 20 years ago. And one thing that I can say about this band is that they are consistent. Sure some albums are better than others (their two best are probably Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day) but the band has never released a bad record and Skins is another solid example of Buffalo Tom’s songwriting prowess.
On my first listen, Skins sounded like a mellow record and after further listens I think that it is a mellow record overall but it is not at all out of character for the band. One thing that does stand out on this record is the sense of maturing and an almost feeling comfortable with middle-age vibe. Song like “Don’t Forget Me” (which includes vocals by Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Belly fame) is an ode to aging and not wanting to be forgotten. “Guilty Girls” is a great pop rock number and “Paper Knife” is an honest look at trying to make a living in the music industry. Buffalo Tom was never really a mainstream success. Sure they appeared on My So-Called Life (in one of the most pivotal episodes of the series), contributed to the No Alternative compilation and the School House Rock tribute, opened for bands like The Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows, and had a minor hit with the song “Soda Jerk” but they never moved passed the cult status. And they never tried to according to a recent interview they did with the Boston Herald –
This is something that I respect immensely.
… Buffalo Tom never tried to be the next Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Instead the band aspired to be the next Replacements or Husker Du, writing loud, fuzzy pop songs to play to friends at a half-full T.T. the Bear’s Place.
“There were times when I felt our career would have progressed if we tried to reinvent the wheel, but it never felt right,” Colbourn said.
For diehard fans of the band Skins will be a welcomed addition to an already excellent discography. If you are new to Buffalo Tom’s music, Skins is as good of a place to start as any, but you may want to consider checking out their best of collection Asides.