111. Buffalo Tom – “Birdbrain”

Buffalo Tom made considerable progress between their debut and this second effort.

buffalo-tom-album-cover-birdbrainThey cleaned up their production and got considerably more diverse.

The core elements are still there. Bill Janovitz’s powerful and emotive voice. Pounding rhythms (where required), and swirling, driving guitar. If someone wanted to know what early-mid 90s college rock sounded like, you could do a lot worse than throw them this CD.

The diversity comes from the songwriting. The vocals are given more space and the tempos change considerably from song to song (and sometimes within).

The opening title track is a standout with a killer riff and restrained but catchy chorus. The following track, Skeleton Key demonstrates their new willingness to slow it down. By Fortune Teller they are really comfortable and competent in this more measured world.

My version of the CD finishes up with a couple of bonus acoustic tracks (one a Psychedelic Furs cover, the other an excellent reworking of a track from album one). Both demonstrate the capacity of the band to produce powerful (but not power-) ballads. They also presage further diversity in sound we would see on their future releases.

What would they achieve next? 🙂

File under: A big step up

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