At Best Cuckold
Sub Pop 1047
Released on September 9, 2014
Vinyl includes MP3 download card
Embarking upon a sophomore effort can be a daunting task for any
young upstart, and there’s no denying Avi Buffalo’s own bar was set quite
high with 2010’s celebrated eponymous debut. Fear not, there’s nothing
in this tale about The Second Album—a.k.a. At Best Cuckold, due
September 8th in Europe and September 9th in North America on Sub
Pop—that even remotely resembles a slump; in fact, it would be entirely
appropriate to say that this Long Beach, California, enterprise is getting
better with age.
Ah, yes, age—much was made of it when Avi Buffalo’s first album hit,
and for good reason: While their Millikan High School classmates were
preoccupied with quaint and youthful pursuits, the musicians behind
Avi Buffalo were busy making an off-kilter pop gem that eventually
bowled over NME, The AV Club, Pitchfork, the BBC, and numerous other
outlets on both sides of the Atlantic.
The creation of At Best Cuckold turned out to be a three-year journey;
a stretch of time that resembles its predecessor. While transitioning from
teenager to twentysomething and traversing the interpersonal wilds which
accompany that age, Avi kept playing music, collaborated with and
produced several friends (including Kevin Litrow’s N.O.W. project and
Douglas James Sweeney’s Arjuna Genome), and even started DJing. He
also wrote new songs, and by the time 2013 rolled around, it was time
to begin capturing his latest sparks—with that, the band headed into
the studio on New Year’s Day.
At Best Cuckold was recorded at Tiny Telephone, the analog-friendly
San Francisco studio run by John Vanderslice (whose Bowie tribute Avi
contributed to), and engineered by Jay Pellicci (The Dodos, Deerhoof,
Sleater-Kinney). Avi then built on the “clean and tight” recordings from
Tiny Telephone with analog and digital overdubs, and completed the
record with Nicolas Vernhes at Rare Book Room studio in Brooklyn. The
result is a quirky yet comforting set of songs driven by refined pop
songcraft and sneaky moments of grandeur that stick in the brain.
Classic-sounding melodies are delivered with a modern sensibility,
creating an album that’s equal parts timely and timeless. Well-placed
piano, sax, clarinet, French horn, and cornet further enhance the
proceedings with a glorious orch-pop sheen.
At the ripe old age of 23, Avi Buffalo is ready to take on the world
(again), armed with all of the experience he’s compiled over the past
few years. And he’s made sure the second time around will be just as
memorable as the first.