I'm 23, live at home with my parents in an attic bedroom, work a retail job and have a degree that, though it's rather cliché, probably isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg is 23. He might have a degree, he might not, but that doesn't matter. What does matter is the fact that since graduating high school he's toured Europe, crafted a debut that bowled over the likes of NME and Pitchfork and has now released a follow up which looks set to do the same. Of course, if we're to believe everything about Avi then he also “ran over two dogs” and “ate them after” so, swings and roundabouts really.
But that's the sort of macabre whimsy that At Best Cuckold is decorated with; a sobering, very real darker side to a record that's otherwise breezy and uplifting. 'Overwhelmed With Pride' for instance floats hazily on a bed soft brass and keys, whilst Avi's falsetto is the perfect accompaniment. Conversely, penultimate track 'Oxygen Tank' begins in a similar fashion, before a key change sees the entire mood of the song change and a distorted classical guitar solo plays us out.
At the opposite end of the album, opener 'So What' has a woozy sugaryness to it, a pop sensibility which is just as much as a part of At Best Cuckold as the inherent darkness in the lyricism. It's this delicate balance which allows the record crest and trough in all the right places; swelling to a frothy, poppy crescendo one track, before retreating to a darker, more introspective place the next.
Indeed, the record seems to summarise almost perfectly the ideals of a 23 year old, clawing at the last follies of youth. It's rose-tinted negativity at it's prettiest and most poignant, and its dark humour mirrors perfectly that of those approaching their mid-20s all of a sudden. As such At Best Cuckold is an album that is both “timely and timeless” and will surely find resonance with anyone who sits down and allows themselves to get lost in the picaresque narratives and expansive landscapes that Avi Buffalo has so expertly contrived.