Bison b.c.: Lovelessness

Vancouver riffmeisters firm up their credentials

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Perennial seat-warmers for sludge’s more high-profile proponents south of the border, Canada’s Bison b.c. would be forgiven if they had used their fourth album to snatch a bit of the limelight they keep hearing so much about.

But while their grandstanding contemporaries have been seduced by prog urges, concept albums, and – hold tight, everyone – clean vocals, with Lovelessness, Bison b.c. have resolutely stuck to the solid-if-predictable formula of riff-after-riff-after-riff that they’ve slowly been building upon since 2006.

James Farwell’s strangulated vocals are never put in a position where they threaten to overpower either his or Dan And’s guitar lines, whether it be on the tidal shifts of Blood Music or the altogether pacier Clopazine Dream. The ease in which Bison b.c. switch up and down through the gears occasionally threatens to flatten these six tracks out into a somewhat indistinct whole, but this consistency also provides the album a backbone borne from the knowledge that it’s exactly what the band want it to be.

Lovelessness is much more than just another record that’s trying to follow in the wake of Baroness’s sloppy seconds.