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Sleepy Eyed

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Album Review

Put Sleepy Eyed in your CD player, hit play, and prepare to be amazed — "Tangerine," the lead-off cut, signals the brief but welcome return of "Dinosaur Jr. Jr." with two-and-three-quarters minutes of charging neo-grunge guitars and galloping drums, the likes of which you haven't heard from this band since Birdbrain. But, of course, Buffalo Tom sound a lot tighter, stronger, and more confident when they dig into the big shaggy dog rock than they did five years previous, and while they never get quite as rollicking as "Tangerine" again on Sleepy Eyed, cut for cut it's a far more direct and straightforward rock album than anything they'd managed since their creative breakthrough on Let Me Come Over. To some listeners, Sleepy Eyed might sound like a regression, moving back into noisy power trio mode after the more polished surfaces and intricate arrangements of Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day, but play Sleepy Eyed back to back with Birdbrain and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the differences. Sleepy Eyed decisively proves Buffalo Tom write better hooks and better melodies, write smarter lyrics, and even rock harder than when they were still trying to find their way out from under J. Mascis' shadow, and they sound like they're having a great time just turning up the amps and letting rip, especially Bill Janovitz, whose rock-dude guitar outros are a hoot (and this is one band who I cannot begrudge for enjoying themselves every once in a while). On Sleepy Eyed, Buffalo Tom go back to the old neighborhood and show everybody how much bigger and stronger they've become — it's sorta like a high school reunion, but louder and a lot more fun.

Biography

Formed: 1986 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When they released their first album in 1989, the Boston-based trio Buffalo Tom were written off as Dinosaur Jr. junior. Admittedly, their debut was in debt to J Mascis' thundering guitar and folk-tinged songs and it didn't help that Mascis produced the record, either. Over time, Buffalo Tom stripped away their grungier influences and developed into a straight-ahead rock group of the early '90s, capable of throttling rockers and beautiful ballads. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Bill Janovitz, bassist/vocalist...
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Sleepy Eyed, Buffalo Tom
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