Review Summary: Concept album about hunting deer that samples music from all possible forms
At the time of this writing, Estradasphere remains on hiatus. This record Buck Fever
is from 2001 and showcases the traditional Estradasphere sound. A simple description would be to say this group is the child of Mr. Bungle and follows the line of Secret Chiefs 3. This is more evidenced with the record produced by Trey Spruance's Mimicry Records.
In terms of track length, this record seems to be a mix of long songs and short songs. Longer epic tracks and some short interludes.
The album begins with the title track "Buck Fever" which sounds like it could belong in a James Bond soundtrack, given its adventurous sound. Largely driven by horns and strings, this track is an exciting opening. "The Dapper Bandits" is song that cycles through several acts in its own right; lush, soft sounds mixed with high tempo tracks driven by horns (saxophone, trumpet) and strings (violin, bass). The combination of these classical instruments with the electric guitar, drums and bass gives for a truly unique sound. Heaviest part of the track is the end. Can best be described as whimsical but serious. Definitely a highlight of the album.
Then there are some death-metal like tracks sprinkled in here and there. "The Silent Elk of Yesterday" is the second heaviest track of the album, with the grinding guitars, pounding drums and raspy-growls like death metal. This track sounds a little different than the traditional death metal, but it fares well enough to be considered of the genre. "Burnt Corpse" is a later track that lasts 14 seconds, and is basically a frisson of death metal. "A Very Intense Battle" is a longer death metal track, and is a little scarier and demonic. Given its long length, this track cycles through varied moments of heaviness.
There are even some video game sounding tracks. Most likely from old Nintendo games. "Crag Lake," "Trampoline Klan," and "Green Hill" are such examples. "Super Buck II" seems to be a remake of the Mario theme.
"Meteorite Showers" is another track like "The Dapper Bandits" in that it cycles through several genres in the song. The most notable sideturn for this track is the Beach Boys-like part of it. Also mixed in with the trumpet, sax and violins are video game sounds (again!) and a few metal sounds (again!). But the Beach Boys-like part of this song makes it one of the most distinctive in the record. John Whooley's sax is key in this section as well, and he does the singing. "The Bounty Hunter" and "Millenium Child" are longer tracks with the former having a Latin feel to it, while the later has heavy elements. "What Deers May Come" has a bit of didjeridu and tribal drumming to it.
1. Buck Fever - 6.5
2. The Dapper Bandits - 9
3. The Silent Elk Of Yesterday - 7.5
4. Crag Lake - 6
5. Meteorite Showers - 10
6. The Bounty Hunter - 8.5
7. Super Buck II - 8
8. Millennium Child - 7.5
9. Trampoline Klan - 4.5
10. Burnt Corpse - 7.5
11. Rise N' Shine (Epic Doobie Nightmare No. 1) - 9
12. Bride of the Buck - 4
13. A Very Intense Battle - 6
14. Green Hill - 7
15. Feed Your Mama's Meter (Remix 2001) - 9.5
16. What Deers May Come - 5
Cohesiveness - 4.5 - I think Estradasphere will always have a hard time making a cohesive sounding record. Some parts of the concept album make the songs blend well, but it is impossible.
Album Cover - 7 - Fits with the album concept, but nothing amazing.
Upshot - It is likely that the only people who have listened to this album are avant-garde fans, Mr. Bungle fans, Secret Chiefs fans, etc. That being said, there are a lot of great songs on this record, which highlight the general talent of the musicians in Estradasphere. These songs are also generally "easy to listen to." Lots of interesting stuff here.