Buffalo Tom have released rather a lot of albums, I discovered whilst scanning through the press release for Asides, so it was timely that a ‘best of’ was released, and this is it.
Covered here are songs recorded between 1988 and 1999, all of which have been remastered from the Megadisc Records mixes. It should be sublime – a testimony to a career spent in producing music loved and lauded. Buffalo who?
And there’s the rub. Whilst the band have doggedly held on to their vision by releasing a compilation of singles which emphasises their lack of commercial success (and they’re to be admired for that), what we get is 18 tracks of guitar music with samey vocals from Bill Janovitz and scarcely any variation of mood. It’s not what I would call sublime – however, yet that’s what we have here.
It’s not bad, but it’s much of a muchness. Taillights Fade and more recent offering Postcards offer pointers to a songwriting talent of sorts, and more in this area would’ve impressed.
But from the opener Summer through to the final Wiser we should have been treated to an odyssey of underrated songs which are to finally (on the back of UK Top 10 success at the end of 1999 with a cover of The Jam‘s Going Underground, also included here) establish Buffalo Tom on the block as a band to be reckoned with. It just doesn’t happen. This is a pity.