The innovatively prolific musical production line in the brains of KING BUFFALO has been nigh on impossible to stop over the last two years. With their new album Regenerator being their fourth album in two years, and following on from the epic Acheron which was recorded in a cave with an audible flowing river, it leaves you wondering which direction the band will go in next. With that in mind, Regenerator sees KING BUFFALO explore progressive rock environments whilst still maintaining their trademark expansive and thunderous heavy psych sound. The band has stated that this is the third album in their “Pandemic Trilogy”, following on from The Burden Of Restlessness and the aforementioned Acheron, both of which were among the best records of 2021.
By comparison, The Burden Of Restlessness is a dark, intense and claustrophobic affair, followed up by the spacious loneliness of Acheron. Regenerator differs from the two previous chapters of this trilogy in a number of ways, the first and foremost being that it is the most upbeat, positive and hopeful album of the trilogy. As if the sun is dawning on a rosy and sanguine new dawn, relaxed and cheerful melodies guide you through this album. Even though big riffs are still at the record’s core, the majority of the album is delightfully easy-going psych rock that you can wholeheartedly vibe out to with a beaming smile on your face. There is an unbridled joy in the soundscapes that KING BUFFALO have crafted on this album, majestically embracing positivity and seeing the beauty still left in the world despite the gloom, uncertainty and melancholy. The graceful nature of Regenerator reminds us that psych can be versatile, intricate, ornate and delicate whilst still delivering a thunderous impact from distorted and fuzzy riffs. With the rich layers of delays, reverbs and choruses that adorn the elegantly crafted guitar melodies, the soul is left feeling cosy and nourished. It is unclear if the Danish concept of Hygge can apply to an album but a strong case can be made for Regenerator taking the title.
Another one of Regenerator’s strengths is its slow builds, epic payoffs and entrancing ebb and flow. Much like what they achieved on Acheron, KING BUFFALO have really taken time to consider the small details within their music; with each listen through you find something new to lock on to amongst the luscious layers. With this in mind, this album harbours the most adventurous basslines that the band has written. Underpinning it all with earthly rumbles and captivating grooves, it makes you feel things you didn’t know that you could. This leans more into the band’s progressive rock side as evolving grooves and rhythmic patterns give the album a significant sense of movement, which is the main cause of the album’s hypnotic nature. Sean McVay’s thick and beautiful vocals provide catchy melodic hooks that capture the imagination with imaginative storytelling. Warm hearted and mellow, it is incredibly easy to succumb to Regenerator’s gentle charm.
Title track Regenerator slowly guides you into the album, which is a refreshing approach to take. Instead of going straight for the jugular with a bombastic riff, warm pads and docile synths help you, in meditative terms, arrive. The song goes on to set the tone for the album before melting away into the next track Mercury which follows a similar template. Hours is the darkest song on the album, charting the journey of a young boy as time seems to escape him. It contrasts the rest of the album by feeling a bit more frantic. Interlude is a beautifully stripped back song that shows the band in a different light. Its gentle nature wakes up your third eye in the most peaceful manner. Mammoth is an anthemic track halfway through the album that combines epic guitar solos with infectious bass sections, leading into 06 Avalon which takes the album down a more jangly path. Conjuring up images of Arthurian legend, the mythic waters surrounding it bring you to this intensely spiritual place. Album closer Firmament encapsulates all that is wonderful about this record in a nine-minute musical epic. Slowly building with gentle guitar and vocals before crashing into monolithic riffs, it provides a triumphant end to a triumphant album.
The bewildering creative consistency of KING BUFFALO leaves you in constant awe. You have to respect the efforts shown to create such intricate and creative music, and Regenerator is the perfect closing album for the band’s Pandemic Trilogy. Full of intricacy and intrigue, and yet also brimming with joy and happiness, Regenerator is the perfect end to an experimental and industrious period for KING BUFFALO.
Regenerator is set for release on September 2nd via Stickman Records.
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