Buffalo Tom Asides from Buffalo Tom

Everybody loves the boy next door, except in the music industry. Or rather, nobody in the music industry loves the boys next door when they actually look and behave like it. It's always been Buffalo Tom's misfortune, from a commercial point of view, to be a little too raw for chart-happy radio and a little too normal and unassuming to really cut it with self-consciously alternative types. Tired of kicking against the pricks and being told they're essentially unmarketable, the Boston trio has gone on indefinite hiatus and leaves us with what one hopes is not an epitaph, but simply a retrospective of songs that a lot more people should have heard. The one disappointment with Asides... is that there's only one track from their self-titled debut of 11 years ago on SST, which still ranks with their best, in all their unvarnished, impassioned splendour. "Sunflower Suit" is the one nugget here from that album and it's still my favourite Buffalo Tom song - instantly catchy chord progressions, lovely vocal hooks, lyrics that become heart-rending and make perfect sense in the context of the song and Bill Janovitz's always emotive singing. Over the rest of Asides..., Buffalo Tom's collective heart remains in the right place - right on their sleeves - and once you've been through the tracks from their finest hour, 1992's Let Me Come Over ("Mineral," "Larry"), the piquantly buoyant "Tree House," from Big Red Letter Day, and the should-have-been top ten pop single, "Rachael," it becomes clear what's always made Buffalo Tom so special and so easy to ignore. Very few bands have ever played such catchy songs with so few gimmicks and so much emotion. Simple as that - unremarkably remarkable. (Beggars Banquet)