It’s great just to hear Bill Janovitz sing. That’s something
that will never change. For twenty-five years his trademark has been a barbed,
whiskey soaked voice that belies his age. Well, that is until now. Buffalo
Tom’s gotten on in years. The guys in Jon Stewart’s favorite band have cut
their hair, moved to the suburbs, and had kids. Around 1996’s Sleepy Eyed,
the songwriting duties were divided between Janovitz and bassist Chris Colburn.
That trend continues with Skins. In between albums, the evidence
suggests that they’re living their lives (Janovitz is a realtor outside of Boston). Every few years
they’ve reconvened, away from their domestic routine, to record and tour.
The themes on 1993’s Big Red Letter Day were
benchmarks of the era: twenty-somethings waiting for life to get started
(“Sodajerk”) while coming to terms with post-college angst (“I’m Allowed”). To
listen to the classic layering of acoustic and electric guitars on Skins power-popper “Guilty Girls,” you’d never notice any time has passed at all. But
a lot has changed in eighteen years. Drawing on Americana for an intimate feeling, Skins is, for the most part, a laid back affair. But that doesn’t mean it lacks bite.
“Don’t Forget Me” looks back on broken promises and old friends, while “The
Kids Just Sleep” finds a father bewildered by his kids’ innocence.
Long pegged as the average guys in the Boston scene, it’s comforting to know
something else about Buffalo Tom that doesn’t change.
Girls,” “Don’t Forget Me” ZACH BLOOM