Possibly the sunniest record of the summer, Avi Buffalo's self-titled debut (Sub Pop) is a pleasant, dreamy collection of California-inspired pop tunes.
Avi Buffalo is a four-piece band from Long Beach, lead by 18-year-old singer-guitarist Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg. Despite his youth, the clean-cut, average-looking Zahner-Isenberg is a crafty songwriter and outstanding guitar player. Wielding a Fender Jazz Master, he adds licks and fills worthy of Nels Cline or John Scofield. The band's heavily referenced influences range from the Shins, Wilco, even MGMT to Neil Young and the Beach Boys.
With song names like "Five Little Sluts," "Summer Cum," and "Where's Your Dirty Mind," it's clear where these kids' minds are. Lyrically, the album is full of sexual angst and dirty innuendo, but also with some occasional depth: "I can't express these thoughts without mistakes / no one can make you lose your faith / except for someone who you love. "
"What's In It For" is a clean, beach-soaked tune bound for endless summer playlists. "Jessica" is a mellow, reverb-heavy ballad about a teenage crush with an incredibly soulful guitar solo during the bridge. "One Last" has keyboardist Rebecca Coleman trading lines with an extra-pubescent sounding Zahner-Isenberg, making for one of the better tracks on the album. "Remember Last Time" is an eight-minute composition with flattering lyrics, soaring melodies, a staggering guitar solo and a powerful, bursting crescendo. Not bad for a group of teenagers.