Buffalo Killers

Heavy Reverie

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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. Heavy Reverie, recorded in Cleveland and produced by Jim Wirt, has songs that don't always go where one expects them to, but still hold classic melodic forms, given weight by being quirky, but usually delightfully so. Among the highlights is "Cousin Todd," a country-tinged bit of power pop that includes the lines "listen to your cousin Todd, he's a better junkie than you," the dreamy and pretty (by Buffalo Killers standards, anyway) "January," and "This Girl Has Grown," which sounds a bit like Big Star dismantling and then reassembling a version of Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl." Heavy Reverie does seem a bit like a holding pattern, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, not with a band as good and as maverick as this one is, but it leaves one wondering just how good these guys could be. It would seem that the sky's the only limit, but now that they're a quartet, perhaps they'll even leap beyond that.

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