Bill Janovitz and Crown Victoria Fireworks On TV!

After somehow slipping through the net that caught many other so-called alternative bands in the early ’90s, Buffalo Tom left behind a largely forgotten collection of classic songs that should have made them a household name. And that’s why to most people, the return of Bill Janovitz isn’t as noteworthy as it might have been. Yet to those of us who were smitten by his earlier band (who are merely on hiatus and still recording together), the release of Fireworks On TV! is a happy event because after a couple of folk-tinged solo albums, it marks Janovitz’s return to his rock roots. In fact, while it might be reminiscent of his Buffalo Tom days, this might be one of the best albums he’s ever been involved with. Remarkably, the album was recording in a mere three days, meaning that many of the tracks were put down almost live and that is reflected in the uncluttered, spontaneous sound that most songs possess. His lyrics have never been sharper and musically, it manages to remain consistently engaging over a generous 15 songs. There are touches of country that hint at the Old 97s, and the folkier moments show that he hasn’t quite got that out of his system yet, but at the end of the day, Fireworks On TV! is the sound of Janovitz finding his true voice again. (Q Division)