Monday, 23 May 2016

King Buffalo - "Orion" (Album Review) & Exclusive Song Premiere

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 05/08/2016
Label: Independent


King Buffalo’s music borrows as much vibe from All Them Witches as it does the headspace that Colour Haze finds themselves in. King Buffalo’s music is concise but it’s also psychedelic and free. Each note is hit with diligence, the builds take their time to unfold and every moment of these 45 minutes contributes something to the greater picture.  “Drinking from the River Rises” summarizes “Orion” neatly and therefore makes for a solid conclusion to this very impressive debut

“Orion” DD//LP track listing:

1). Orion
2). Monolith
3). Sleeps on a Vine
4). Kerosene
5). Down from Sky
6). Goliath
7). Orion Subsiding
8). Drinking from the River Rising

The Review:

In Greek mythology, “Orion” plays the role of a hunter. So when King Buffalo’s album opens by taunting “Orion” with the lyrics “Orion can you hear me?” I can’t help but think that this band from New York have taken on the courageous task of writing a concept album. This is merely speculation, but I do believe that the band is telling the story of a hunt - told from the perspective of the hunted - complete with ritualistic sacrifice. Themes of life, death, surrender, victory and sweet release are explored during this story, one that weaves its way through these nine fantastic psychedelic rock songs.

The fact that there’s a concept running through “Orion’s” lyrics is enough to keep me coming back. The meaning of the lyrics falls differently with each listen, let alone how they come across when being read from the lyric sheet. Singer Sean McVay may not have the most impressive pipes in the business, but he sure does know a thing or two about delivery and phrasing, and the effect this has on the meaning of the songs.

King Buffalo’s music borrows as much vibe from All Them Witches as it does the headspace that Colour Haze finds themselves in. King Buffalo’s music is concise but it’s also psychedelic and free. Each note is hit with diligence, the builds take their time to unfold and every moment of these 45 minutes contributes something to the greater picture. How this album is mixed underscores King Buffalo’s mission in pulling the listener in; the bass and drums sit out front and pound away as the guitars float below the surface, subtly grabbing hold of the lead, begging the listener to tune in closely in order to hear everything.

Like we’ve come to expect from bands in this genre, “Orion” covers a lot ground. The introductory build of the opening track takes two and a half minutes to get going and only then are the first lyrics uttered. By the time the album has hit its halfway point, everything from spacey guitar solos to the deep, bass-led groove of “Kerosene” has passed by. The swaying in “Sleeps on a Vine” lives and breathes, breaking free from the emotive heft during the song’s infectious chorus.

The album’s (soon-to-be) Side B leads in with a beautiful piece on the acoustic guitar. Steady drumming in the song’s back half is reminiscent of All Them Witches’Call Me Star,” but King Buffalo quickly take back control of their own musical landscape with a wash of echoing guitars in “Goliath.” Lyrically, things get pretty spiritual at this point as McVay tells of rising to the heavens to the tune of the guitars running a victory lap and the drums crashing away with reckless abandon

Album closer “Drinking from the River Rising” pulls everything back together. It pushes past the nine minute mark, and does so by pulling out all of the stops. The ground that King Buffalo covered in the eight preceding songs gets mashed together into this one. An interesting choice that strays from the band’s credo of giving each song the time and space to develop one idea at a time, but “Drinking from the River Rises” summarizes “Orion” neatly and therefore makes for a solid conclusion to this very impressive debut.

Do yourself a favor and hit play on the Exclusive Song Premiere of the opening track "Orion". Enjoy.

Orion” will be out on 5/08/2016 but is available for pre order here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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