A four-year gap between albums is not as long as the nine-year hiatus that preceded 2007’s Three Easy Pieces, but Buffalo Tom fans are patient folk (as well as famous folk – US chat show host Jon Stewart is their number-one supporter). Not that it matters, as Skins, their eighth album in 22 years, is more than worth the wait.
Buffalo Tom: Skins
Under-rated Boston trio make welcome return.
One of the most reliable bands to emerge from the grunge era, this Boston trio have always winningly mixed power-chord country rock with Byrdsian harmonies, and were among the forerunners of the Americana boom.
Here, they’re very much playing to their strengths: highlights include She’s Not Your Thing, a wonderful slice of honeyed country pop, the Springsteen-style epic Out Of The Dark, the rollickingly good Here I Come whose four-to-the-floor basics are lit up by some spectacular playing, plus one of the bands best harmony hooks since 1993’s Sodajerk, and Don’t Forget Me, a fabulous ballad with Tanya Donelly of Belly, Breeders and Throwing Muses.
For all the familiarity of sound, there is a sense of a band trying to stretch themselves rather than rest on their laurels. If the new REM album isn’t quite as Automatic For The People-ish as you’d like, buy this instead.