King Kong is a party band with the same oddball attitude as that of the B-52s—albeit more mood-lit lounge get-down than freaky, love-shack bacchanal. King King vocalist Ethan Buckler even talk-sings like Fred Schneider (or even Calvin Johnson), though the songs on Buncha Beans are sillier than Schneider’s.
This is the first album in five years for King Kong, and it doesn’t deviate much from the style they began with in the 1980s, making it seem not of this indie-rock age. True to King Kong form, the band continues its salute to animals—groovy tunes concern themselves with a hungry tiger and a dirty dog as well as a funky mule and bugs. “Cirque du Blase” amusingly relates a terrible circus experience.
Buncha Beans is entertaining, if not teetering on the verge of ridiculousness; a few songs like “Orange Ocean” benefit from Amy Partin Ritchie’s mellowing harmonies, which soften Buckler’s drone. But once you hit the groove, you’re sold. Then again, unrepentant cynics might find the trail of wacky animal references off-putting at the least. (Erika Fredrickson)
King Kong plays Thursday, May 24, at the Palace. 10 pm. Cover TBA.