Release Date: May 27, 2014
Record label: Tragic Hero Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
Well, the world just lost another great rock power trio. Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers, who until this release were a Cream/Blue Cheer juggernaut of a trio who could also channel the Beatles, Big Star, and the sound of power pop into the mix, have expanded to a quartet with the addition of second guitarist and lap steel player Sven Kahns, so any further comparisons to Mountain or the James Gang being fronted by Alex Chilton kind of have to go out the window. Does the addition change things? Not much, really, aside from broadening the sound a bit, perhaps, because Buffalo Killers are still a great chameleon of a classic rock band, with crushing riffs, soaring electric guitar leads, quirky but extremely melodic songs, and gorgeous, ragged harmony vocals, somehow sounding fresh and new while also sounding comfortably familiar, a bit like hearing a favorite rock band blasting out of a car window going by, followed by another favorite rock band blasting out of another car window going by, and on and on, as this now-power quartet continues to explore rock's classic lexicon.
Occupying a sonic space between the Black Crowes and the Black Keys, Ohio’s Buffalo Killers count both Chris Robinson and Dan Auerbach as fans. The former asked the band out on tour, while the latter produced the band’s 2008 album, Let It Ride. The Buffalo Killers’ fifth album, Heavy Reverie, firmly lives up to its title. Conjured melodies worthy of the Byrds and Matthew Sweet fill spaces between Rust Belt blues (“Dig On In”), stoned grooves (“Louder than Your Lips”), and reserved country processionals (“January”), rounding out a protean album of crunchy jams.
The story of Buffalo Killers must be the story of a thousand rock bands. Two brothers grow up together,spend hundreds of hours rifling through their dad’s classic rock collection and end up forming a band that combines elements of all of the music they loved as kids. That, more or less, is the story of Andrew and Zachary Gabbard, two brothers from Cincinnati who have taken the last 40 years of rock music and blended it into four studio albums as Buffalo Killers.