buva’s latest full-length album All This Humming sets a new standard for homemade, radio-friendly pop beamed in from a bygone era.
The solo project of Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Tom Wolfe, buva blends the horn-rimmed sophistication of Elvis Costello with the jubilant optimism of McCartney’s solo albums. Wolfe wrote all the music, played nearly all the instruments and sang all the songs on All This Humming. It’s a rush of good vibes and tight arrangements, a sonic trip bolstered by Wolfe’s memorable lyrics and creative production.
All This Humming represents a leap forward for buva. The 13 new tracks were mixed by Bryan Cook (Inara George, Michael Andrews) at Michael Andrews’ Elgonix studio and feature tasty guitar work by Lyle Workman (Beck, Frank Black, Jellyfish). Loopy illustrations from LA animator/designer/poet Geoff McFetridge round out the package, building on the theme of Wolfe’s homestyle production methods.
From the sun-kissed stanzas of “Out of My Mouth“ to the single-worthy blaze of “Something That I Need to Hear,” the songs are driving and direct, echoing both Revolver-era Beatles and vintage Beach Boys, but without a hint of maudlin sentimentality. And on “Just Step Away,” Wolfe opts for the scenic route, trading guitar-based power-pop for the wide-screen vistas of Hollywood symphonics. Mellotron and glockenspiel unfold in panoramic bliss, quietly reminiscent of Jon Brion’s themes for films like Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love. If you’re not moved, you’re not listening.
Like the humming of a well-worn turntable or the buzz from a magical amp, Wolfe’s songs feel familiar yet fresh, comforting yet ready to explode with new information. His melodic pop transmissions flow from the center of the galaxy, circle the planets and hover like shadows in the four corners of your mind.
It’s buva’s All This Humming. And it’s something that we all need to hear.