Long Beach, CA’s Avi Buffalo may own some Shins records, but that doesn’t mean that bandleader Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg’s wiry falsetto and inherent knack for pairing pop hooks with handclaps is destined for silver screen adoration. The band’s Sub Pop debut may be quirky, but it’s a little sinister too, boasting a heavy dose of arty melancholy (“What’s in It For?”) and subversive, faux-twee indie pop (“Summer Cum”) that has more in common with left-field outfits like the Danielson Famile and Deerhoof than it does the Morning Benders. Either way, the band never truly offers up a mission statement, which is kind of nice, as the fragmented song structures and childlike melodies manage to come off as either cloying or slightly unhinged, depending on the temperament of the listener. It’s when they stomp their feet on that middle ground that their eponymous debut kicks up the most sand, and with a little more nuance, their future endeavors could leave some pretty hefty footprints.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger