Album Spotlight: King Buffalo - "Dead Star"

>>It could be that we consistently put so much weight towards having a hit single heard on the radio in America that three of the biggest bands in history didn’t get their meteoric rise to fame until years into their already successful careers. King Buffalo isn’t going to write a pop anthem that blares from every indie rock college station anytime soon, but they have the ability to be seminal if not counter-culturally relevant. Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Tool didn’t reach their apex of their fame until seven years into their studio album releases. King Buffalo is on year seven of an amazing trajectory.

Often labeled as “stoner rock” the psychedelic and hypnotic rock and roll sounds of King Buffalo are intuitive and intelligent, musically acute, and mindfully aware. The label of “stoner” gives off too much disinformation, as if the band floats in on a cloud of marijuana smoke to entertain the crowd and that you “wouldn’t get it” unless your high. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. Pink Floyd was labeled as psychedelic pop when they came out and then evolved to be one of the greats. Genesis was seen as Prog rock, and really still are, but by now that term has taken on a language of its own. And Tool, well, Tool has become Tool.

Dead Star has the tom work of Pink Floyd in the drums, the mystical progressions of Genesis, the sound and feeling of Tool, but is all King Buffalo. They have, especially since Orion, formulated a sound that is recognizable. It’s driving and grungy while be delicate enough to hear each note. It’s theatrical at times with lead ups and crescendos inching along to pique your interest and attention. Dead Star takes you on a ride through space, a progressive time stopping thirty-five minutes if you take the radio edit off the end, which all in all was a great move, even if music purists don’t agree with it.

The aptly named Eta Carinae is luminescent if not just straight fire. The opening bassline and driving drums are enough to hook you right away, but there’s some twists and turns throughout the song that continue their theme of keeping the listener largely at their fingertips. There’s something King Gizzard about this song, something unidentifiable that the Lizard Wizard would be jealous of. Maybe it’s the actual sound of the guitar, or maybe the lyrics. There’s something uniquely convalescent, like you just woke up from a coma and everything is different. If King Buffalo and King Gizzard could get together on a tour it might actually like reawakening.

The album ends with the title track, a calm serene ending to the journey. It’s well done and simple and sweet. It’s a great last track and it’s caressing and easy in a way that lets you down softly after a punchy album. King Buffalo is in the magic year of number seven since their first utterance and it just keeps getting better. Their progressive lines, psychedelic feel, and grungy undertones are reminiscent of three bands that hit their acme seven years after their first official release. Dead Star is that album and King Buffalo is about to become king.

Check them out on our latest issue of the publication at FLOATED ISSUE 10