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CD Review: The Buffali: Indie pop so wrong, it's right

The first thing newfound Buffali listeners notice is how strikingly odd the duo is. This is not a statement to be taken lightly -- especially considering that yours truly is the proud father of a few hundred CDs that, to the average listener, are...

The first thing newfound Buffali listeners notice is how strikingly odd the duo is.

This is not a statement to be taken lightly -- especially considering that yours truly is the proud father of a few hundred CDs that, to the average listener, are utterly "weird." (Not to totally rip off comedian Kyle Cease in his "Generation Nintendo" bit, but "I don't understand / What do you mean? / That song's weird / That's not a good song" is pretty much the only thing overheard at a party if I'm in control of the jukebox.)

Perhaps it's totally fitting that the group's full-length debut, "Kerfuffle No. 10," was conceived and recorded in the college town of Madison, Wis. -- or perhaps it's completely irrelevant, but it's true, and that's interesting.

Why?

If the Buffali can survive in a town known primarily for drunk frat boys (and girls) -- and not, as expected, just in some hipster juke joint like Minneapolis, Boulder, Olympia or even Milwaukee -- then there's hope for an entire offbeat scene.

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Watch out, mom and dad, for the Buffali -- and whatever else is climbing up out of the underground -- is quirky and as dangerously "deee-ranged" as indie pop can get.

And it hits early on "Kerfuffle."

The leadoff track, "Yet Late," starts out innocently enough with Clare Fehsenfeld and Andrew Yonda harmonizing, sweetly, as if they were auditioning for a Cameron Crowe soundtrack.

This gradually dissolves into a domestic spat about tardiness ("Did you ever notice / Yer 40 minutes late and you forgot to call? / My friends all wonder / Why I bother putting up with you at all") and, nary a few lines later, the "couple" reaches that point in any given argument where both parties must decide: Do we A) give up the grudge and admit mutual stupidity or, B) say a few choice words unsuitable for print?

The Buffali, my friends, will always choose "B." (Come on, "A" is for sad, sappy suckers like U2.)

The rest of "Kerfuffle" carries on in much the same eccentric fashion, with increasingly poppy -- and fun* -- songs like "True Love," "Sophie" and "Sh*ttrain" to keep the momentum going.

*This is important, as the word "fun" has only been used to describe a few other acts, including Minneapolis' similarly minded Best Friends Forever.

The Buffali are coming to our town (to help us party it down) at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Amazing Grace Bakery, 394 Lake Ave. S. No cost. For details, call 723-0075 or check out www.buffali.com .

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