So What by Avi Buffalo (Single)

Avi Buffalo sleeve

Avi Buffalo

Avi-Buffalo-So What

Avi Buffalo offer a tantalising example of what’s to come, with the first single from their eagerly awaited second album

our years ago, Californian twee-pop act Avi Buffalo released their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album. Part folk harmony and part paisley pop melody, the record bore favourable comparison to their idiosyncratic label mates The Shins. Allied to a whisper of Rufus Wainwright’s baroque charm, Avi Buffalo set indie hearts a flutter.

With only 2011’s two-track How Come released since then, fans will have been delighted to hear songwriter Avi Zahner-Isenberg’s February announcement that album number two had been completed. The band’s sophomore LP is to be released this September and single So What arrives to bridge the gap between now and then.

Musically it dwells in the same twee-pop territory as its predecessors, though with a touch greater emphasis upon rhythm than melody. It’s in sentiment though that a change can be felt. So What is affected by a more worn tone than the band’s previous work, as though the past four years have pushed Zahner-Isenberg out of his summer haze and into an autumnal malaise.

Indeed the title might be seen as a partner to Weezer’s facile Why Bother. Zahner-Isenberg is, though, a much less sardonic writer than Rivers Cuomo, and the resigned tone feels simply an acknowledgement that the sun has receded, rather than disappeared, with its absence both inevitable and temporary.

Though So What tells us little about Avi Buffalo that we didn’t already know, lovely melodies and delicate vocals, it does reveal their namesake leader to be a songwriter with an appreciation for the subtleties of mood. So why bother with this record? Because it has everything to be loved about twee-pop and more.

Verdict: Subtle and delicate twee-pop

Damien Girling

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