King Buffalo were described to me as a stoner rock band, but at first I heard something a little different in them. I had only heard parts of two songs when I chose to review their upcoming album Orion. It sounded like something more than another band making long songs with endless and aimless jams. I wasn’t completely wrong, but kind of.
Eight songs are present on Orion, and over half of them are over five minutes in length. I’ve had surprises in the past with these bands which is why I started accepting stoner/jam bands again, so I decided not to judge King Buffalo by their song lengths.
The opening title track to Orion is one of the long songs, with an almost three minute instrumental intro before the singing starts. The entire song is a slow one but intensifies toward the end with just over a minute left. There is also a track called Orion Subsiding but I don’t hear any relations between the two songs other than the fact that they are both very slow, however the latter has a better vocal melody.
Orion‘s second track Monolith has a bit of a faster pace and is a little more up tempo, but it is still what I consider slow, however it proves to be one of the faster songs on the album as I quickly learn that King Buffalo are mostly about making slow jams and recording them. The only other song on Orion that is of a faster pace all the way through is Kerosene, which does have an energy to it unlike anything else from the album.
Anything else on Orion has King Buffalo playing slow while waiting until towards the end of songs to intensify, like the over seven minute Sleeps On a Vine or Goliath. By the time you get to the latter, its long instrumental intro just starts to sound too similar to just about everything else on the album. When it picks up towards the last couple of minutes though it becomes a solid track. One way King Buffalo change things up is by adding the acoustic song Down From Sky which sounds pretty good thanks to its melodies and the fact that it’s acoustic guitars bring a very welcome change to Orion, even if it is another slow song.
The longest song on the album is Orion‘s closing track Drinking From The River Rising. It starts off with a sort of desert tribal vocal melody which I like, but in the end the song is just too long. Like just about every song from Orion, it makes for a very good standalone track, if only King Buffalo made the rest of the album sound a little bit different I wouldn’t mind listening to this track for almost ten minutes.
5.5 (Out of 10)
|3.||Sleeps On a Vine 7:31|
|5.||Down From Sky 3:23|
|7.||Orion Subsiding 5:33|
|8.||Drinking From the River Rising 9:58|