Buffalo Tom: Three Easy Pieces

Buffalo Tom: Three Easy Pieces

B+

Buffalo Tom

Album: Three Easy Pieces
Label: Animal/New West

Of all the what-might've-beens of the grunge era, Buffalo Tom may be the most fondly remembered, because little about the band was divisive. Buffalo Tom wrote solid rock 'n' roll songs, performed with vigor and—especially toward the second half of its decade-long run—accessibility. The band's biggest problem was that it hit its commercial stride after recording its best album, Let Me Come Over. Buffalo Tom never had material quite that strong again.

But Three Easy Pieces, the first album by a reunited Buffalo Tom, is arguably the band's second-best record. Three Easy Pieces restores some of the wall-rattling volume lost in Buffalo Tom's bid for mainstream success, yet from the melodic, yearning opener, "Bad Phone Call," it's clear that singer-guitarist Bill Janovitz hasn't lost his ability to moan memorable melodies to the fans in the back rows. Three Easy Pieces sports an overall feeling of confidence and power that makes even its more filler-y tracks enjoyable. Ten years ago, songs this strong probably wouldn't sell under the Buffalo Tom name. Today, they probably wouldn't sell without it.