Since Definitely Maybe was released in 1994 it has been imperative for a 'gang of lads' indie rock band to hit the ground running with their debut album. And this rule was reapplied again to a new generation by Is this It and then for an even newer batch of indie kids when Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not came along.
If you're not the leader of the pack then as a straggler you at least need to mainline into the slipstream; clasping onto the coat tails, suckling the teat to catch the last drop of milk that falls from Mother Indie's bulging udder.
Clashmusic.com recently put together a somewhat tongue in cheek feature called 'Indie Survival Odds' that looked at what indie bands would remain standing as indomitable rock pillars of rock during the current indie recession. Though humorous, the jist of the piece reflected the current attitude to meat and potatoes indie rock and roll, or as it's more callously known 'landfill indie'. The music buying (stealing?) public are currently hooked onto dance, pop, folksy singer songwriters and all that is quirky; which suggests that people at the moment either want the introspective stuff like what Lily Allen sings about on 'The Fear' or the get down on the dance floor and gaily shake what your Mother gave you sounds of Lady Gaga. The musical behemoths of today are Take That and Girls Aloud. There seems to be no time for Top Shop Fender bearing mannequins or packs of pseudo-proletarian Byron quoting romantic urchins at the moment.
So what hope is there for It's a Buffalo?
Don't be Scared is an undeveloped album bereft of originality. For an album that according to the band has taken over two years to complete, you certainly expect a lot more. Having honed their skills under the critical magnifying glass that is the unforgiving Manchester music scene, the band will be relying upon the fan base that they have built up in order to keep them afloat because this is an album that seems destined to be ignored.
What It's a Buffalo do offer is a pleasant dose of songs with some nice melodies, perfect background music for when you enjoy a few jars down at your local pub, the kind of music you go out of the way to ignore in favour of conversation and flirtation. There are a few songs like 'Somewhere In Range' and 'Bang! On The Seafront' that roll along like tumbling sheep descending on a mudslide down the steepest part of the Pennines, though these green shoots are few and far between.
Tour mates the The Courteeners have proved that being a workmanlike, solid but unspectacular band can produce some fruit however you do need to have at least some stand out songs, there is nothing to really excite you here. It's too nice, too inoffensive. There is nothing to be scared of.