King Buffalo Claims Throne in Land of the Bison

LAURA ELLEN BRANDJORD | Photo Courtesy
King Buffalo shows mastery of not only their instruments but also musical arrangement.

Longstanding influencers of the Rochester, New York rock scene, King Buffalo brought Orion tour to the Aquarium Sunday, Sept. 9.

If I was to put a label on King Buffalo’s music, the most accurate I can get is psychedelic doom blues rock. While it’s not the most succinct definition, it encapsulates a majority of the band’s sound. King Buffalo spends as much time on their ethereal soundscape as they do on their thoughtful placement of guitar riffs and bass runs. Everything is deliberate in order to be effortless. Don’t believe me? The best example of the band’s overarching sound can be found in their song “Repeater” off the album of the same name.

The Rochester trio pairs dark, fuzzy bass with bluesy, echoing guitar riffs over a blanket of psych-flavored organ distortion. Add the heavy use of cymbal washing and vocals utilizing chorus and reverb and you get an all at once engaging and tranquil arrangement. The distorted organ, especially on their latest album “Orion,” creates a mood of a planet landscape that borrows arrangements from old science-fiction movies.

These artists are musicians in the truest sense of the word. Not only can they play their respective instruments, but they also possess a keen ear for arrangement. No one ever competes or clashes with the other. Instead they seamlessly complement each other. It is all about the overall musical emotion conveyed.

King Buffalo remain free of the commercial constraints of 3-minute songs, letting the creative flow simmer as long as it needs. The result is an average song length of 8 minutes. That can be a turn off for some people, but the key for a good long song is exciting dynamic variety. Take Dave Grohl’s 23-minute song “Play” as a prime example outside of King Buffalo.

If you missed their show at the Aquarium, you can find King Buffalo’s music on Spotify.

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