Like the weeping goo seeping beneath the plaster, Avi Buffalo’s debut offering is so raw, fresh and exposed, it stings. A winsome Michael Cera film come to life, the frailties of youth and the lingering paranoia of obsessional lust pump through it and are so overwhelming that it’s scarily tangible. You could almost reach out and touch Zooey Deschanel’s fringe.
It’s an album of tangled teenage limbs, of fuzzy notions, lip-trembling misunderstandings, secrets whispered under duvets, of finger tracing, doubt-lingering want with days spent cycling through the impeccable sunshiny neighbourhood of your fantasies. It can be that good.
Melodies seem to drip effortlessly from the mind of Avigdor Zaher-Isenberg that they flow in a rush of shivery-excitement which fails to fade with repeat listens. Witness with quiet awe of the wondrous ‘What’s In It For?’ a mix of faltering vocals and heart breaking, countrified guitar riffs it’s The Go-Between’s at the school dance.
An ode to steaming loins of sexual frustration that’s wrapped in the most exquisite harmonies, major chords and charmingly hilarious lyrics such as “You are tiny and your lips are like two pieces of bacon” that it manages to take on a shy, endearing beauty which in the hands of a more tawdry teenage troubadour would have ended up as a grinding pile of sweaty angst.
Not that angst isn’t part of the Avi Buffalo programme, it’s strewn all over the album, it piles up like undone homework on unmade beds. Songs such as ‘Five Little Sluts’ and ‘Where’s Your Dirty Mind?’ are full of bitter fierceness about missed opportunities and desired conquests but they stop short of sneering brattishness due to a healthy dollop of self deprecation.
This awkward wit and confessional outpourings wind their way through songs that sonically touch on everyone from the Shins, Animal Collective, Eels to a pre-crack Evan Dando at his most melancholy. Although as accessible and melodic that it is, it’s not all Summer evenings and picnics in the park. There are moments of undoubted dirge on the almost-irritating duet ‘One Last’ and a feeling of urgency leading to rushed, sloppy endings on some tracks that sometimes give the feel of an incomplete EP rather than a polished debut.
This rush and fumble franticness is endemic of their youth, this and the aching self consciousness will eventually become eroded as their teen dreams fade into adulthood but hopefully with any luck the heart-bursting joy and tear-welling honesty will remain virginally untouched.