connect on:
tumblr

Chris Faroe | Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

album review by John Powell

Chris Faroe | Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

Chris Faroe will likely be under your radar. A New York City-based mid-twenties artist, Chris has been surfing the underground folk and anti-folk scenes for a few years, sometimes with his old duo The World is Not Flat, sometimes as a solo artist, and often collaborating with some of the country’s most eclectic anti-folk musicians. Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo is his first release in a few years, and it’s an excellent indie album for lovers of great songwriting.

Of course, Buffalo is all too brief of an album, clocking in at under 30 minutes, so it bears resemblance to an EP, eight songs, the first two under a minute each (and together). Still, Chris hits home with some of his most gorgeous melodies and songwriting to date.

The album thematically touches on American life. Chris, who was born abroad, studied in England, and calls NYC home, has a strange connection to cultures, to patriotism in its various forms, and that all comes out after the opener, “Hannah”, which is a seriously old time folk ballad set-up. The simple guitars and sparse bass, with male and female vocals, create this leap we’re taking into the strange world of the record. “Northwest Passage” is mainly radio fuzz and a banjo.

Then comes “Amerigo”, which starts, “We counted the cars/ on the New Jersey turnpike.” Then Chris sings, “That was the summer we had all the time,” stretching into the recesses of growing up American, of loves and losses. It’s bittersweet, and slowly builds outward from this one scene, to tales of grandparents, of ferries. Non-biographical, (the narrator is named Katherine), it’s also not without strong connections to the self.

That’s what makes this little gem so attractive- it’s half personal and half universal. Chris is naming experiences specific to him but relating them to universal philosophies.

The epic “Buffalo Sentence” continues down the American path, where Chris begs, “Where do 60 million buffalo just go?” At one point he leaps into, “Wrought this road our golden meal/ one part sweat to one part steel/ bulls eye bulls sit blood stampeding/ blue eyed boy for a nickel you can see him.” An inverse relationship, when Chris gets emotional his lyrics become disjointed, less narrative, and trade in for a thematic outburst of images. Perfectly done.

In “Tucson” he travels through New Orleans, Austin, and Tucson, suggesting, “Tucson, while you wait for rain, remember/ that we'll love you when we're gone.” “Mutiny” is a sadder song, with Chris taking on a near-blues guitar riff and deciding, “I’ve been longing for the oh/ for the outline of an island/ an island in the old world.”

“Jersey Girl” is the epic epoch, Chris’ shining moment, as he becomes a young girl dreaming of leaving Jersey, of being an inventor and adventurer. He impossibly (yet he does!) tracks the American Dream in a new light- not something superficial, but hopeful, suggesting that prosperity through alternative thinking, through breaking through responsibility and exploration, is essential.

“Good Time” closes the album with, “Oh, we had a good time toward the end there/ read Magellan to each other on our bed/ heard Amerigo and Christopher/ listened to what Henry Hudson said.”

Is it a concept album? It’s definitely full of stories, with multiple characters, and it does connect the dots. Whatever he was going for, Chris has imagined a world and taken us into it, as much a storyteller as a musician, as much a storyteller as a poet, and as much a poet as a man trying to find his place in this crazy world.

Bottom line: Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo is a must-have for folk lovers, as Chris is as folk as someone can get.

 

 

 

 


 

all content © 2010-2018
by angelica-music
website by 838
terms of use