I once read an interview with prog mastermind Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) wherein he said the trick to writing a successful long song is to not make it feel like it’s taking the listener a long time to listen to it. I don’t know if Rochester, New York- based power trio King Buffalo ever read that interview, but they definitely take that philosophy to heart, because on this, their second album, they have mastered the art of writing 10 minute-plus songs that never bore and always remain exciting.
In fact, the three songs in question, “Morning Song,” the title track, and “Eye Of The Storm,” prove that their songwriting acumen and use of dynamics has grown exponentially, as these three songs take the listener on an epic journey and end before you even realize you were sitting there listening to a 10 minute long song.
Take the opening track, “Morning Song,” for instance. It starts off as airy and melodic psychedelic rock that slowly builds to an explosion of fuzz at its climax. They know how to keep you interesting and invested. They don’t hit you with the same riff played over and over ad nauseum, like some of their contemporaries. This same principle goes for the title track and “Eye Of The Storm,” which comes at the end. You want to go on the journey.
But, it’s not all 10-minute jams for these guys; they also know how to write concise songs, as the remaining three songs which come in between the three longer prove that they make a shorter song shine, too. “Sun Shivers” starts out as lilting psych rock before adding fuzz muscle, all in 3:29. “Cosmonaut” takes the listener on a journey to outer space before adding fuzz and a solo that just goes into the recesses of deep space. “Quickening” mines the quiet/loud dynamic to great effect.
It’s getting close to the end of year, and many higher profile bands that play in the same loud rock sub-genre as King Buffalo have released higher profile albums that have garnered a lot of positive attention, but Longing To Be The Mountain deserves to be in the discussion when talking about the cream of the crop of riff rock albums released this year. Don’t let it fly under your radar. This is a band in ascension. Don’t miss out on their journey.