As one of the most diverse and well-rounded bands in the Nashville area, Buffalo Clover can always be counted on to give us music that makes us think and move and wish that we could make music just like they do. I first fell in love with their sound when I heard Midnight Circus from the Strong Medicine album, and I thought for sure that everything else they did would have that same quirky, gypsy sound. I was wrong. They’re quirky all right, but their sound encompasses so much more than the circus-performer-on-acid sound, and they prove that with all they’re worth on the latest LP, Low Down Time.
The record opens with a full-on soul offering, Can’t Stand Still, which is also where the album gets its name. While there is no way to doubt the inspiration, we can still count on Buffalo Clover to change it up a bit. The moment Margo Price opens her mouth and we hear the pure, clear vocals rather than the rough and raw usually associated with soul, it becomes clear that they’re about to blow my mind. And they do. After I got over my initial shock, I realized they’d created their own genre and then proclaimed themselves king.
There’s no way to sit still as you move through the tracks. These guys will make you move. Cure Me, the second on the album, has just a hint of the psychedelic 60s, and then they transition right into Nobody Cares, where Matt Gardner takes over the vocals and the soul vibe comes right back. My favorite track was hard to choose, but I’m pretty firm on the selection of Don’t Lie to Yourself. It took me a while to figure out why, but I’m convinced now that it’s the piano–at first driving the ballad forward and then holding it still. I felt myself getting lost in the song and had to play it over and over again, just for the swelling feeling in my chest as the band pushed and pulled with clever dynamics and tempos.
They didn’t hold back with the follow-up to the beautiful ballad, either. Oh Well was a raucous tune, featuring some horns on top of their usual strings and percussion. The difference is fun and joyful and entirely unrestrained, which is my favorite way to listen to music. There is no way to deny the solid 60s influence on the record, but no one can say it’s regurgitated at all. This is fresh, exciting, and entirely different from anything else you’ll ever hear.
I was absolutely enthralled, taking the music along with me to ride with the sunroof open and then to listen to quietly as I wrote. They’re shocking, easy to listen to, innovative, and yet familiar. I’d buy this album again and again. I want to give copies to all my friends. The world needs more bands like Buffalo Clover. In the words of the band itself: Finally, music that doesn’t suck.
You can find the Low Down Time on iTunes or buy it directly from the band’s website. There aren’t many shows on the schedule at the moment, but if you’re lucky enough to be in the Nashville area, you can see them tonight, August 20th, at The Basement on 8th Avenue. If nothing else, run right to their Facebook page and listen to the sampling of music from their various albums. You won’t be sorry.