Buffalo Skin-To. Island. From. Dream Island
Record Label: The Abandoned Scout Camp
Release Date: March 5, 2011
Minnesota’s Buffalo Skin are purveyors of the rather niche genre of ambient-folk and are a duo with Adam Dagen on vocals and other instrumentation and Justin Hoffman on drums and other instrumentation. To. Island. From. Dream Island is the somewhat grammatically awkward, but still very awesome title of their debut album.
Title aside though, is this album any good? Well, it depends on your disposition. If you are a fan of ambient folk (who isn’t?) then this is the album for you. It features nine tracks of fairly long, quiet ambience alongside two interludes of sorts. The nine songs are all focused on soft acoustic guitar, indistinguishable mumbled vocals and piano touches. While not being quite interesting enough to enter in to the same ranks of beautiful music that many post-rock bands reside in, each track contains all the perfect ingredients for a thoughtful, lovely album.
Starting with the entirely instrumental “Transmission”- one of the aforementioned interludes- each track on the album seeps into each other seamlessly. Songs like “Double Choke Death”, “Dreamer Believer” and “Purple Moon” are powered by rich acoustic guitar, and on their own are attractive songs, but when listened to consecutively, hold the serious risk of sounding far too similar. It would also be quite nice to be able to understand what Dagen is singing every now and then. Despite this, It’s when Buffalo Skin go for a slightly different sound, such as on Ego March, which is the closest they come to a full band sound, that they are at their best. The album ends with closer “How High”, a track that pretty much sums up the whole release in one quiet, acoustic and calm song.
If you are not a fan of, or have just never delved into the world of ambient folk before, the length and lack of progression in each song may run the risk of being too boring, but if it’s taken for what it is, To. Island. From. Dream Island is a thoroughly enjoyable listen.