Buffalo Tom

Quiet and Peace

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Twenty-nine years down the road from their debut album, and seven years since they last released a recording, Buffalo Tom sound very much like grownups on 2018's Quiet and Peace. The opening track, "All Be Gone," shows these guys can still rock when they want to, and "Lonely Fast and Deep" confirms it. But most of the time, Buffalo Tom sound a bit quieter, more thoughtful, and more measured than they did in their '90s heyday. This was a band that was often given to a certain amount of navel-gazing, and that hasn't changed on Quiet and Peace, where the music often matches the contemplative mood of the lyrics. None of that is a criticism -- it's genuine and well-deserved praise. Quiet and Peace is a set of songs that show Bill Janovitz, Chris Colbourn, and Tom Maginnis refuse to live in the past, and it's the work of three mature men who have plenty to say about their lives and the world around them in the here and now. Quiet and Peace is not built around walls of guitar in the manner of Buffalo Tom's best-known work -- keyboards take up as much room as the six-strings on "Freckles" and the evocative cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York." But it's also no less passionate, committed, or intelligent when they were routinely acknowledged as one of America's best bands, and this trio's gift for writing strong but melodic tunes and smart, emotionally incisive lyrics hasn't changed a bit. Buffalo Tom are still looking for answers on Quiet and Peace, even if the questions aren't quite the same as they once were, and they clearly believe that rock & roll still means something important. Buffalo Tom are still firmly in control of what was best and most important in their music, and Quiet and Peace is a fine reminder of why they mattered then, and why they matter now.

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