Longing To Be The Mountain by King BuffaloRelease date: October 12, 2018
Label: Stickman Records
King Buffalo have gathered up quite a bit of anticipation outside of the release of their second album, Longing To Be The Mountain. After a scorching debut album release, Orion, and then Repeater, an EP which really stoked the appetite for what was to come, they seem to be a band poised on the edge of greatness, at least within to stoner world.
There’s a very good reason for this too, as whilst there music may not stray far from its remit, the expansive sound is both reminiscent of Arbouretum and Pink Floyd. The idea of space is driven deep into each of these songs, and allowed to unfurl as the languidly psychedelic passages unfurl over you. It’s head-noddingly satisfying, whilst also seeking to expand in a mature direction.
Lengthy opener ‘Morning Song’ sets its stall straight out with its sounds of bird call unfolding into a majestically pining guitar. As the music builds, the sounds gets heavier, but never to the point where it threatens to envelop everything. The riffs are there, but kept to the point of simply colouring, rather than driving. Instead, it is the acoustic passages which bring the song to life, along with the doleful vocals which entice you in.
Much like the aforementioned Arbouretum, you get the feeling that nature and landscape drives this band. The music is redolent of huge mountains and open plains, with the masterful delivery culminating in the explosive ‘Eye Of The Storm’ later on, as the album comes to an end. Book-ended by lengthy songs, King Buffalo feel at home drawing on those moments where the music spreads out into a sprawling wall of sound.
Within, there are shorter songs which are no less expansive in their delivery too. ‘Sun Shivers’ may be less imposing than the opening track it follows, but its marching bass-line opens up an urgent need to show that they can escape the languid stoner sound into a more heavier remit. ‘Cosmonaut’ surprises too, with its jangly opener bringing to mind Pearl Jam before it turns into a psychedelic anthem complete with spaced out mid section sounding for all the world like a theremin (cloth ears, and lack of information on the press release do not allow this to be confirmed).
‘Quicksilver’ brings things down to the ground a bit, although its repeated guitar motif itches at your scalp before entering some explosive guitar squalls. It’s simply the hors d’oevres to the title track though, which returns to the expansiveness of the opening track as the band once again hit those heady heights. It may seem slightly overwrought, and a little obvious, but King Buffalo have more than enough musical nous abut them to make each step their own. As they lead us into final track ‘Eye Of The Storm’, they stand apart from many of their peers as a band who have a bright future ahead.
If either Orion, or Repeater whetted your appetite for this band, then Longing To Be The Mountain is that moment where you find a band really maturing and becoming something that could be really special. There are still moments when you wish they would change the mood a little, and the music does tend to sound the same throughout. When they hit those heights, which is 99% of the time, then they become a masterful addition to the stoner genre. They might not be in the same league as Arbouretum quite yet, but if they continue along this vein then we may have a real contender. An essential purchase.