From the moment that Buffalo Tom hooked up with J Mascis, they've been stuck with the unfortunate "alternative rock" tag - and by 1993's Red Letter Day they seemed foolishly bent on trying to live up to it. I thought they'd hit rock bottom with 95's Sleepy Eyed; then they came back with the even more abysmal Smitten in 98.
But eight years away from the studio seem to have done the reunited Buffalo Tom boys and company a world of good. They haven't sounded this invested in their music since the Birdbrain days.
If the Replacements were to release an album stuffed with vital performances of stylishly crafted roots rock like those on Three Easy Pieces, it would be hailed as the comeback of the century. However, since it's the new Buffalo Tom disc, many people won't even give it a second glance.
If you're one of the brave few who check it out, you'll be glad you did.