Buffalo Tom - In their own words (mostly).
Let Me Come Over - Episode 308
A friend of mine returned home from her first year at Providence College armed with a more textured and nuanced musical taste than when she had left.
On her first night back, I picked her up to go out to dinner, and she hopped into my car, pulled out a cassette, and waved it, saying: “You gotta check these guys out. They’re from Boston.”
I wasn’t entirely sure what Boston had to do with it, but I trusted her musical taste (and still do).
I heard the crunchy guitar intro and thought: “WTF is this?!”
I may have even said it.
For historical context, this was before I (or anyone) had heard of Pearl Jam, and only a few of the musical cognoscenti had heard Nirvana’s Bleach. And no one outside of Washington state had heard of Mudhoney.
As we were driving to dinner, we sat in silence, listening to Birdbrain. From song to song, I heard something new and something old. I could hear classic rock, which built a base of familiarity, mixed with a sound I hadn’t heard before.
If you want proof, listen to “Enemy.”
By 1991, the sound had a name - grunge - and a figurehead - Nirvana - and the world was never the same.
After the rocket fuel ignited and grunge took off, Buffalo Tom released Let Me Come Over in March of 1992. As this new album highlighted, also making its ascension was the skills of the three members of Buffalo Tom.
Let Me Come Over is a cleaner and tighter-sounding, Buffalo Tom.
Opening with “Staples,” a song that begins as if the band is warming/tuning up before it begins the crashing and bashing. A sound that owes more to the bands from across the pond than the musical Manifest Destiny making its way east from Seattle.
While “Staples” was the first song, the first single was “Velvet Roof” and Jaysus on a jet ski if the song isn’t one of the most infectious of the era - hell, any era. If you don’t believe me, listen to musician/writer Eric Beetner:
Although, for me, it’s “Darl” that is more air guitar worthy than “Velvet Roof” - it’s photo finish… and playing the songs back to back will leave your arms sore.
Much like its predecessors, the self-titled debut and Birdbrain, Let Me Come Over mixes blasting rock with some more melodic songs (“Mineral,” “Larry,” “Frozen Lake”). The difference is that the latter levels up the bands’ craft, in both song and sound, from their first two albums. Where the former albums may have been a bit “grungier,” the latter was more polished. In case you’re curious, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Truthfully, Let Me Come Over doesn’t have a bad song.
Its sheen had Buffalo Tom coloring outside the lines of grunge and proving, yet again, that they were just a step or two ahead of the curve.
On this episode of Abandoned Albums, we’ve pulled audio from various sources - all listed below - from over the years and sewn together a story about the Buffalo Tom up to that brilliant third album, 1992’s Let Me Come Over.
We let Bill, Chris, and Tom tell their story… while we listen to the album.
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Boston Herald with Jed Gottlieb