The Phoenix Foundation

Buffalo

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The drowsy/easy psych-drone-pop amble of "Eventually" starts the Phoenix Foundation's 2010 full-length album on an agreeably understated pace, as good a way to set a tone as a full-on blast might be. The main guitar line, a little Feelies and a little post-punk epic art, mixed with a bit of classic rock imagery thanks to the lyrics, finds a kind of happy blend that the band has worked to make its own. The similar sense of gentle fusion and picking among the ruins of the past crops up throughout Buffalo -- the polite Velvets/pub rock chug of "Flock of Hearts" shaped by some sweet chimes and a bit of distant Mellotron/vocal chorusing along with a very glammy guitar break. Songs like "Skeleton" find a more direct hook/lyric approach, while the sweet uptempo pep of "Orange & Mango" shades into a swirling series of guitar loop breaks and shuddering keyboard surge. "Wonton" captures another sense of understated ease, almost breezy in feeling and sound. Samuel Flynn Scott's vocals often come across as nondescript but aim to be familiar rather than remarkable, suiting the sense of easy immediacy here -- the appeal of being what you expect. Then again, on "Pot" the chorale effect is higher pitched and warmly inviting, so a little twist can do nicely. Some fun lyrical touches abound: "All of these spots are being turned into gallery spaces" on "Bitte Bitte" leads into a nice little observation of the necessity of difference -- the line "Please don't be my friend" could almost be from an early Flying Nun band instead of a current one. "Golden Ship" ends the album on a nice full-bodied punch.

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