Cold Water Flat – Cold Water Flat


Released on March 28, 1995 on Fort Apache/MCA Records




It feels like a lazy copout to call these guys Buffalo Tom Jr., but hey, when your vocalist is the little brother of another band’s singer and you willfully mimic their sound at every turn, you kind of make it inevitable. Besides, there’s no shame in glomming onto somebody else’s sound if you do it well and their sound is worthwhile to begin with. For my money, Buffalo Tom was an under-appreciated gem of a band (outside of their hometown Boston market), so there are worse ideas on who to piggyback. Cold Water Flat were sleeping soundly under the comforting blanket of “alternative”, back in the mid-90’s when that had about nine hundred conotations, none of which really helped. To me it sounds like the stuff we used to call “college rock” back in the 80’s (you know, old school R.E.M. or maybe the Pixies), only souped up with a thicker 90’s distortion and production values, which gives it reason to exist in my mind, that college sound generally too thin and poverty stricken for my tastes. Janovitz’ singing style takes a couple of listens to warm up to as he sounds like he’s constantly fighting a head cold and pushing the limits of his (limited) range. But the songs are warm and thoughtful, making me think of Neil Young for reasons I can’t really capture. Make that John Hiatt instead. Once again though it’s a record that I never really gave enough time to when I first acquired it and as a result it sits rotting near the bottom of my collection, never getting the love it probably deserves. Instead, big brother gets all the airtime needed when that particular musical fetish hits me, leaving junior to remain one of those pleasant surprises that hits me when I choose to look outside the box (or in it, as the case may be). (Appropos of nothing: one of the band photos looks like *my* brother. Oh the irony.) (Also of note: the album was recorded at Fort Apache studios in Cambridge, Mass., and was, I believe, the first of a handful of releases under the Fort Apache label imprint of MCA Records, all of which means nothing to anybody but me, probably.)





  1. Virus Road
  2. King Of The Underground
  3. Numb
  4. Magnetic North Pole
  5. Mistaken
  6. Beautiful
  7. Rescue Lights
  8. It’s Over
  9. All I Had
  10. She Is
  11. Hold My Head



Paul Janovitz – Vocals, Guitar

Ted Silva – Bass

Paul Harding – Drums


Produced by Sean Slade and Tom O’Heir



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