Bizarro punk/noise/rock duo Buck Gooter are releasing their 17th album in the span of 12 years. During all that time and through all the releases, Buck Gooter, now returning with 100 Bells, has not missed a beat. Their music radiates with the same energy as it did on the first day and the primitive sense is as raw as it was on their debut album.
With 100 Bells the duo presents a certain progression in terms of their song structures, displaying a more concise approach and a clearer vision. But, that does not mean they lose aspects of their extreme experimental sound, coming down with the same energy and in-your-face attitude. The result is a work that at the same time feels honest and uncomfortable, childish and experimental. It all comes down to the punk ethos the duo adheres to, and despite the additions and experimental deviations, the rawness inherent in their work has punk rock and its purity as its origin point.
The punk tone is prevalent, and coupled with the industrial dimension, its animosity becomes augmented. The manner in which the album kicks things off with “Apocalypse Me” depicts the perfect coalition between these two worlds, its mechanical drum hit combining with the old-school riffs to pin you down. The dissonance produced by this tactic is stunning, as parts ooze with an inharmonicity, providing some of the striking moments of the record, as in the phrases of the title track.
The focal point however is the rhythm, and Buck Gooter make sure that its beat is as intense and as explosive as possible. The pace does not matter that much, since the beats are coming down like bombardments tearing holes in the soundscapes. The combination of these patterns with the distorted vocals, as in “Pray To God,” gives an ecstatic quality to the parts and this is where the experimentalism comes into play, with the duo using tribal rhythms in “I Don't Talk To The Dead” or softer percussion, in “One War,” to contradict with the heavier guitars and maniacal voices.
While the rhythmic structures drive the album, Buck Gooter also tend to leave them behind and perform in an abstract environment. Noise rock elements are apparent throughout the record, but the duo also moves gladly in the noise dimension, as the insane “Dissolved Song” suggests, opening up a window into, an even more, adventurous side. The music becomes almost formless from that point on, verging on a state of lucid psychedelia in “Mound 72,” where progression and structure lose their poignancy.
100 Bells retains its allure throughout, as the band takes on different forms and performing their apocalyptic music. The core element that runs under the surface, the blues influence, is also the catalyst for this work. Following the blues motifs they close down the album in the most fitting way, with a downtrodden and oppressive offering while retaining the groove and twang of the genre. It speaks to their capabilities and summarizes their perspective.
7.3 / 10
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