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Where the Buffalo Roam

This local quintet of true non-believers make some grand statements with their debut LP “Fables of the Cloth”
Local Minneapolis group Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo will be releasing their new album Fables of the Cloth this Friday at the Nomad World Pub.
Image by Marisa Wojcik
Local Minneapolis group Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo will be releasing their new album “Fables of the Cloth” this Friday at the Nomad World Pub.


What: Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo CD release show with Wizards are Real, Grant Cutler and Your Friends and Family

Where: The Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis

When: 9 p.m., Friday

Cost: Free

With just a cursory glance at their debut albumâÄôs track list, their agenda might seem painfully obvious. But donâÄôt be fooled by song titles like âÄúCelestial TwinâÄù or âÄúTainted by Adam.âÄù

Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo arenâÄôt here to preach the word of God.

âÄúWe grew up going to the church, but weâÄôre all non-believers,âÄù frontman Chris Weiland said. âÄúWe figured some people would assume we were a Christian band, but we didnâÄôt care enough to change it.âÄù

Formed about three years ago, what the local quintetâÄôs debut LP, âÄúFables of the ClothâÄù âÄî which theyâÄôll be releasing this Friday at the Nomad âÄî lacks in divine ruminations, it more than makes up for with top-tier songwriting and accomplished musicianship. But itâÄôs marked by a certain grandiosity and focus that suggests itâÄôs more likely the work of weathered professionals rather than fresh-faced amateurs.

At its very core, âÄúFables of the ClothâÄù has all the essential elements that characterize standard indie folk: meticulous finger picking, sweeping orchestral arrangements and gorgeous harmonies that sound like what would happen if the Beach Boys all got really high and recorded an album in the woods of Nowhere, Wisc. But while all the aural nuts and bolts are in place, BBB take it a step further, blending rootsy Americana with the desert sounds of the Middle East.

The genres might literally seem worlds apart, but the stylistic pairing helps their songs avoid becoming pastiche or redundant. For instance, in the albumâÄôs opener, âÄúShafts of Light,âÄù brooding vocals and elegiac strings steadily build over an acoustic plucking pattern before erupting into a din of tubla clamor and Arabian guitar work. And each time it all takes off seamlessly, as the group allows each song to slowly burn before taking any brash sonic detours.

BBB never run out of ideas or space for more instrumentals either. A jaunty saxophone opens up âÄúLast and GreatestâÄù while a quiet violin whimpers throughout the sun-kissed country diddy âÄúTainted by Adam.âÄù

The instrumental wanderings give the group a chance to show off all their musical chops while avoiding jamland territory. It might sound like the result of studio improvisation, but Weiland insists itâÄôs all carefully calculated.

âÄúAll the more jammy-sounding moments were all planned out,âÄù Weiland said. âÄúWe have a little fun during live performances, but most of the time we stick to how we play it on the record.âÄù

Weiland, whose vocals fall somewhere between a less downtrodden Matt Berninger(The National) and a fiery Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), was raised on church music and all the necessary classic folk and country. And while he insists he hasnâÄôt drifted too far away from his roots, he admits you can only do so much with tradition, citing various Middle Eastern records heâÄôd been listening to while writing and recording the album.

Amid all the under-the-radar acts that go unnoticed, BBB is certainly among the cream of the crop. However, press coverage or not, Weiland and his band arenâÄôt stepping off the stage anytime soon.

He said, âÄúIâÄôll probably keep playing music forever.âÄù

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