Buke and Gase
Scholars


3.5
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 19th, 2019 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A strange and fidgety album that is guaranteed to evade umbrella classification.

Scholars does everything it can to not be caught. We always want to compartmentalize music, and “indie” is a vague catchall for odd creations like this. However, Buke and Gase are so much more than your average indie-rock outfit. Everything from this Brooklyn duo is improvisational, boasting big beats that turn on a dime to match wits with unpredictable rhythms and vocal melodies. The group even employs custom handmade instruments, ranging from a baritone-ukulele (a buke) to a guitar-bass hybrid (a gase). There’s nothing ordinary about their music, which is a fact that’s practically beaten into the listener from the start.

It’s an easy trap for an experimental band to fall into – to overexpress its unique personality at the expense of the music’s listenability. But that’s what makes Buke and Gase so special; now on their third full-length, they’ve accessed that ever-elusive sweet spot between interesting and enjoyable. From the second half of ‘Stumbler’ – where a dense psychedelic atmosphere suddenly evolves into a bouncy, off-kilter rhythm – it’s as strange of a ride as you’ll ever experience from beginning to end. ‘Scholars’ marries high frequency percussion with panoramic vocals before ‘Derby’ excitedly sprinkles brass into the soundscape. ‘Pink Boots’ bursts onto the scene with electric guitar licks and a more vocal-centric approach structured around Arone Dyer’s self-harmonized crescendo choruses, all before doing a trust fall into ‘Temporary’ – this entirely robotic mini-track that somehow feels warm and cuddly. The main thing that remains consistent throughout is the emphatic, stomping drum beats – which serve as the main driving force behind Scholars. With that said, the rest of the music unfolds like a round of instrumental mad libs.

As the album progresses into its back half, it presents some of its strongest individual tunes. There are bitter undertones on ‘Wrong Side’, where Dyer sings “your right is wrong for me” atop thumping beats before the song transforms into a sea of electronic effects and high-pitched falsetto humming. ‘Grips’ has a swagger not found elsewhere on the record, this almost sassy to-and-fro tempo lifted from bluesy electric chords and Arone’s most confident vocal delivery yet. ‘No Land’ is Scholars’ most potent lyrical statement, an observation of how we treat ourselves like royalty by dismissing suffering and destruction…unless it affects us directly. It’s a rather serious thematic turn placed directly at the end of the record; perhaps an intentional maneuver to make the message even harder to ignore. It’s just further proof that Buke and Gase know exactly what they want to say, even if the music is scattershot.

Often, the genius of Scholars is too short-lived – these flashes in the pan that dissipate as the eclectic nature of the album carries the music in another direction. It can make for a frustrating experience at times, especially when you wish that they’d extend a particularly interesting moment, or perhaps cut out a section that drags on for too long. That’s the drawback to an album like this; a topsy turvy thirty-eight minutes of wide-ranging instrumental, vocal, and lyrical themes. It’s worth the occasional frustration though, delivering a largely “different” record that is guaranteed not to fade into that dreaded, muddled pool of indie artists that are all fairly derivative. As Buke and Gase ebb and flow from one creative whim to the next, Scholars marks one of the oddest and most intriguing albums of the early year.




Recent reviews by this author
Florida Georgia Line Can't Say I Ain't CountryAvril Lavigne Head Above Water
Ingrid Michaelson Slow the RainBrand New Leaked Demos 2006
Big Wild SuperdreamSarah Louise Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars
user ratings (27)
Chart.
3.2
good
related reviews

Riposte

General Dome


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
January 19th 2019


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a super fun album, could see it growing even more with time.

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

Dewinged
January 19th 2019


14482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

NICE



Happy you did this before the Dolphin Midwives. This is sooo good.

Digging: Chasms - The Mirage

rabidfish
January 19th 2019


4795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this feels to me like a textbook example of a transition album... A lot of different ideas, a lot of enthusiasm and energy to try new things, but the execution is sloppy and despite it taking 6 years in the making it still feels kinda rushed.



Still a very solid album with some killer tracks, just wish by their next release they get a better feel of their new and improved sound, because i really like the new sounds they brought to the table.

Digging: Blizzi Boi - Europa

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 19th 2019


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually dropped Dolphin Midwives, it's a cool little piece but not much worth going on about (good or bad). Someone else (hint hint) will need to review it.

Yeah I love the constantly shifting rhythms here. Keeps things fresh even if I agree that they haven't found that new and improved sound yet; there's plenty of samples here of what that may end up being and they're all good.

bloc
January 19th 2019


54470 Comments


Bukakke and Gas

Digging: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is

Dewinged
January 20th 2019


14482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sowing check Two People's debut, it came out this friday and you might dig it. If you don't write it up I'll do it.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 20th 2019


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You go for it, my plate is full.



I love how 'Stumbler' evolves as it progresses. Also, 'Pink Boots' is one of the best songs of the young year.

WatchItExplode
January 20th 2019


6362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rules...my first exposure to the band.

rabidfish
January 20th 2019


4795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

if you like this then you'll either love or hate their older stuff... personally, general dome still their best. This one felt too much like a stepping stone, but at least it made me feel confident that where they are heading is going to be fucking amazing.

WatchItExplode
January 20th 2019


6362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I figure the improvisational nature of the stuff will make it hit-and-miss with me much like the tune yards

Dewinged
January 20th 2019


14482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"You go for it, my plate is full." Got it.



I gotta get on their older stuff but really loving this, specially first half.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2019


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@WatchItExplode: I familiarized myself with their discography for review context, and although I'd hardly consider myself an expert on their sound, I'd recommend General Dome. Album maintains their asymmetrical songwriting but is still fun as hell, kind of like this.

SandwichBubble
January 21st 2019


9260 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Another one bites the dust. Huge disappointment for me, but maybe more people will check Riposte because of it.

Digging: Little Claw - Moss Has Fangs

rabidfish
January 21st 2019


4795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oof that bad?

it's inconsistent, yea, but it got some jams.

SandwichBubble
January 21st 2019


9260 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I can't stand it. It all just feels so empty.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 21st 2019


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's not a lot of warmth if that's what you mean, but I sorta like that

SandwichBubble
January 21st 2019


9260 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I feel the same way about this that I do about that new Gang Gang Dance. Just going "digital" after a career of "analog", but with no idea what to do with it.

Dewinged
January 22nd 2019


14482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, growing off already, still like it a lot but ummm... smth's off

JohnnyoftheWell
January 22nd 2019


12727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gave this a couple of spins and not particularly impressed tbh

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 22nd 2019


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah tbh this lost a step for me too...I love the creativity and it's very fun, but it's just hard to listen to the entire album



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy