Buke & Gass’ “Riposte”

“Not everyone will understand it, but good music is rarely embraced by all.” -MH

Michael Hall
Buke & Gass Riposte

out of 10

September 14, 2010

Music trends seem to change as fast as Madonna changes outfits during a concert. Each new generation of bands seems to latch onto a style and reproduce it until no one wants to listen anymore. Then a new sound takes over.

It was with this knowledge that a groan was uttered when Buke & Gass came through as the new album for me to review.

“Oh great,” I whined, “another one boy, one girl, stripped down White Stripes want to be. I already know what to expect.” (I have a well scripted inner dialogue)

Granted, some two person groups have made names for themselves as truly original bands that rock with the best of them, i.e. The Black Keys.

But others, most of whom you have never heard because they play locally in musically saturated college towns, just simply are not very good.

This is where Buke & Gass’ new album, Riposte, is very refreshing.

First there is the buke. It was once a baritone ukulele, but with some handy work, it is a six stringed instrument with a pick-up. Second, there is the gass, a hybrid that is part guitar, part bass. Third, there are percussion instruments affixed to feet and bass drums in a one-man-band style.

Combine the three, and you have Buke & Gass’ utterly unique sound. It is fuzzy, dirty, raw, heavy and kind of sweet, all at the same time.

Layer on top of that (according to the band’s MySpace page) the influence Vivaldi and Raymond Scott, whose music has been used in countless Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies, and you have a surprisingly progressive composition style that makes the band one of the most unique I have heard in a very long time.

Riposte’s second track, “Medicina,” offers a perfect example of the Buke & Gass sound. It starts with a hauntingly creepy guitar lick and melody that, from lead singer Arone Dyer’s voice, immediately resonates. The song then morphs in to something completely different, building its way to a wonderful finale where Dyer’s voice shows of its true, natural beauty.

It is then followed by “Your Face Left Before You” which revels in foot stomping goodness drenched with Dyer’s beautifully feminine voice.

Buke & Gass have scored a winner with their first full length release. Though the quirky two person band is somewhat of a trend these days, Aaron Sanchez and Arone Dyer have taken the idea to another level of experimentation that should be encouraged.

Not everyone will understand it, but good music is rarely embraced by all.

-Michael Hall, October 25, 2010