When we talk about the current climate that heavy psych finds itself in, you can’t go two feet without talking about King Buffalo. Easily, the trio is one of the best bands out of the modern age that has enabled the sound of heavy psych to take over the landscape of Bandcamp and many listening habits of the modern fan of heavy rock that’s always playing with different forms of psychedelia, and there’s a reason why they’re insanely relevant with every single effort that they put out. Should you not know of their glory, stop now and come back later. For those of us who do know, how could the news of a new effort from King Buffalo be anything other than wildly exciting? That’s how many of us felt about their announcement of new material in 2021, not to mention three creations in all, but it’s with this first shot that King Buffalo delivers us everything that they’ve become known for in their performances with every moment being oh so fucking sweet!
I’m not even going to talk about the prospect of three King Buffalo works in one year since they will all have their time to shine, and I highly doubt we could’ve had a better starting off point than what is presented to us with all that “The Burden of Restlessness” brings to the table. Restlessness is very much a concept that many of us can identify with on an all too personal level with all that had occurred last year, and even a good bit into this one, and while there have been numerous albums that have provided us with grand catharsis after such a struggle with aggressive music in all of its varying forms, it is here that King Buffalo somehow manages to take that concept to a transcendent level that is simply bewildering. The New York act has always been exemplary at providing us with a special blend of heaviness that is always wreathed in some form of psychedelia that truly has raised the bar for every modern band after that while it’s the captivating riffage and undeniable grooves that keep us tethered to reality even as the ethereal space that King Buffalo commands being ever so tantalizing to fall into at any given time. Should you expect anything else than that very glory with “The Burden of Restlessness”, then a fool are you, but should you suspect King Buffalo release the same exact sound that they’ve created before without challenging themselves as craftsmen, then a truly great and wondrous fool are you!
Just seven tracks feel like hardly enough time to experience what King Buffalo could ever create, especially given the self-challenging glory that this band gave us with last year’s exemplary EP, “Dead Star”. But, it’s across over forty minutes of immensely stimulating material that “The Burden of Restlessness” manages to not only tickle the imagination of heavy psych lovers of all creeds, it also manages to constantly reel in the listener even further to the inner space that King Buffalo has complete dominion over without question as each track provides us with flavors that are constantly changing when it comes to their accessibility, heaviness, psychedelia, melody, and craftsmanship – all of which play a large and constant role no matter which is taking the center stage of the performance. It’s between the sonically delicious pulses that the guitars constantly serve up, the plodding bass that can easily kick up to a satisfying gallop, the drums with a beat that is always peak satisfaction, and the vocals that are as smooth as they’ve ever been that King Buffalo manages to take on a sound that is still undeniably what we’ve come to fall in love with from their previous works, but it’s with an ever so slight shift to something somehow proggier that “The Burden of Restlessness” takes on a form all its own which is definitely no small feat when considering the discography at large that King Buffalo has been building with immense expertise for years now. Bound together by indomitable talent and the perseverance to still create great art even in the face of global adversity, it is “The Burden of Restlessness” that rises above the challenging conditions in which is was made and it has become a work that may just be the beginning for what King Buffalo has in store for us this year, but there’s no way to even dare consider this work as something to be missed in any form.
I never once go into a new effort from a band as wondrous as this expecting anything less than beard-strokingly interesting, but I’d be lying if I said that I tried not to let the hype get to my head. Hype does not always happen with great results as we all know, but it really is starting to feel that King Buffalo is on a crusade against that very notion. There hasn’t been a single effort that they’ve dished out in just eight years that hasn’t been more than worthy of investigation or mass praise, and that proves to be no different with all that “The Burden of Restlessness” brings to the table. I’ve already said it before multiple times but I simply have to say it again: this is only the first stop that King Buffalo is gifting us with in 2021, but it is in every way, shape, and form that they’ve delivered the exact kind of quality that has been synonymous with their name for years now with every moment of it being downright invigorating!
“The Burden of Restlessness” releases on June 4th!
LISTEN to the single from “The Burden of Restlessness”, “Hebetation”, on Bandcamp here.
LIKE King Buffalo on Facebook here.