A quick turnaround since their last project, and what a result. Buffalo Mend offers up another full-length album, blending distortion and softness, melody and grit, intensity and thoughtful delicacy, in a brilliantly immersive, thought provoking way.
The stylish and ambient mood setter that is Love Is Out There starts things up, guitars spiral around you, seemingly freestyle, and a subtle groove is met by an intimate vocal line that sees the singer pour his heart and longing into the process.
The drums and guitars on this album sound beautifully nostalgic, often tipping their hats to grunge and blues rock in a raw, unfiltered fashion. On top of this, an Eels-like vocal proves unmistakable, and gorgeously genuine in its connection to the stories. Slow Down Geneva follows on and showcases all of these qualities well – the drum sound in particular, the tumble and crash, adds a quickly likable live feel that’s been missing from so many of our days lately.
There are many a slow jam on this album, it’s a fine choice for late night contemplation or early morning calm. Buffalo Mend has a way with songwriting and performance that calls out for connection, and welcomes you to consider things more deeply. Got It Right is a strong example, and a personal highlight.
Then we get the higher intensity of Patricia The Party Planner, with its detail and scene-setting. These stories about other people, particularly women, likely do seem vaguely familiar to many. The album’s title comes to mind more than a few times when listening to its lyrics.
Lady By The Lake injects a welcomed acoustic feel, a folk song with a poetic overtone and a blissful use of space and melody. The guitar sound is lovely, as are the vocals and the images presented. Subtle versatility stands tall throughout this collection, and these reflections on life keep you captivated with ease. This particular song feels fit to see the final scene of an emotional movie through to its credits.
In terms of the intimacy and revealing aura of some songs, Trenches is a particularly open and honest one, poetic still but laying bare the songwriter’s own struggles. It’s easy to fall into, and the words really reach out in an authentic and somewhat heartbreaking way.
We then get a touch of Americana with a country shuffle and a subtlety that is One and One. Again the lyrics seem decidedly personal, intriguing and yet easily applicable to any and all of our lives. Lines like I wish that I was older now draw you in for their strangeness and familiarity united. The simplicity of the set-up reminds you of the solo effort, this artist lost in the moment, reflecting on the world and the role of the self. You get a kind of Elliott Smith meets Jeff Buckley stage feel, with gentler vocals and a hint of something even more nostalgic than these.
In The Morning is another highlight for its lightness and vast poetic backbone. And afterwards, Just to Let Me Down reignites the movement and warmth from earlier, for a song that seems hopeful but progresses to fall into the topic of human disappointment.
A quiet but stunning piece, towards the end of the project, is the hypnotic and again heart-breaking yet hopeful Young Hearts – a definite favorite, and a dream to let play.
Then we get a return to the fuzz for a mellow groove and an aptly cinematic, mood-setting The Long Road. Lush guitar work and the crash of those drums really ramp up the energy at this penultimate moment. It’s a welcomed break form lyrical leads, and it envelops the listener in this ever-evolving soundscape of melody and meandering emotion.
To finish things up, For Her returns to the simple back and forth of a guitar rhythm, with echoes of space and sentiments. The line Love will overcome takes us back to the sentiments of the opener, and rounds things off well.
A beautiful collection, in short – with more than a few timeless gems. Buffalo Mend speaks to those parts of our lives that barely get a chance to connect but always linger in our minds. It’s real, it sounds real, and this entire playlist is an easy choice for calming down the noise and vastness of the outside world.