If I was a smarter cat, I would find a different word to use than “buzz” when describing the vibe that emanates from the attention that a band that gets a lot of good press and a lot of positive word of mouth type of endorsements from fans. But, a terribly smart cat, I’m not sadly.
With that said, it doesn’t take a genius to know when a buzz is building for a band or performer. For those of us who live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, our buzz-detectors have been working overtime ever since the formation of banjo-loving duo, The O’s. So, basically, since late in 2008, folks around these parts have had to read and hear about how great this duo of John Pedigo and Taylor Young is. Here’s the thing: They really are.
All too often “buzz” and “hype” are confused as the same thing, but they’re not, thanks to a vital, key difference. Buzz is typically the direct result of genuine and positive reaction to something, whereas hype is generally formulated by someone behind the scenes in hopes of eventually building buzz, and giving the listener a good feeling about a band before the listener has really experienced the band yet. The question of whether a band “lives up to the hype” is often asked, and such a common question illustrates my point. Hype has to be followed up with substance after the hype has been generated. Hype can be hollow, but buzz comes from the substance of the product connecting with its audience to the point where the word spreads more organically. Sure, buzz has become a cliche and overused term, but for a band to generate buzz is to say that it has generated praise for it’s actual product and not for the effectiveness of a public relations agent.
For me, and many others, The O’s 2009 debut album, We Are The O’s, did more to further their name and build upon their reputations than any press mentions ever could. Possessing not a single skip-worthy tune, the spare, front porch style that recalled pre-Rick Rubin Avett Brothers was striking in it’s simplicity and even more so in it’s contagious catchiness.
It should come as little surprise then that the quirky duo’s new album, Between the Two (out now on iTunes from Idol Records) is anything but a sophomore slump-style letdown. Prodcued by Stuart Sikes, this album has a bit of polish and a fuller overall sonic in many of the songs, but all of that is for the better and effectively introduces some appropriate variety to their sound that previously was dominated by acoustic guitar, pedal steel and banjo with some kick drum mixed in.
So, I guess you could say that The O’s and their new album live up to the hype because they’ve again produced a record that should generate tons of well-earned buzz.
Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob