5 June 2017
Buzzøøko - GIZA
I get many strange and wonderful names through my email these days, some of them are more offensive than a politician at a social club, some of them are incredibly exotic and (to be honest) up their own arses. But some of the names, some of them just stand out like beacons of fire in the nights sky, some of them sound familiar before you have even heard a note, as if you are already acquainted to their work in some strange sort of way. Such a name came into my email a few weeks back, that name was Buzzøøko. Hailing from Manuta, Italy, this three-piece band have been creating their own particular brand of noise since 2014, they list their influences as Shellac, The Melvins, The Jesus Lizard, Slint and the 60's psychedelic era of sound. Being an older man, I remember that list of names from when they were all shiny and new, so seeing a band who state that they are an influence by these acts has added them to my list of bands I must hear. Anyway, this album was released on Retro Vox Records and it is their first full length album after they released a demo released last year. Debuts can sometimes be the hardest album to get right, obviously as you only get on chance to introduce your work for the first time. Also, you have all your life to create a whole batch of songs, but having to pick those stellar tracks out of all the pieces of art you have created is incredibly hard. It is all about trying to pick the gems, distinguishing them from tracks which are not up to scratched (no matter how much you love them). Well, it is time to see how Buzzøøko have done on this matter.
01 - Jenny the Joker
Opening is the heavy artillery track that known as 'Jenny the Joker' which is a lesson on how to make a guitar sound heavy without using nuclear distortion. It is as lesson in looping, building and endurance with this song last just over seven minutes and repeats a lot of the same riffs with a patience nature that is designed to test the listener. It is a heavy song, but it does resort to your stereotypical not that heavy to be honest. It took me a while to get into it, but it is worth the wait once it clicks and falls into place.
02 - Love is Indie Hair
Following on with that same intensity that peppered 'Jenny the Joker', 'Love is Indie Hair' is a short and spiky post rock number that will stay in your head for many hours after it has finished playing. It is a spooky sounding number, one that is brimming with intensity and it is another that is a master class in sounding heavy without resorting to conventional methods. it is an interesting track, one which keeps on delivering in droves.
03 - Gettin' Sick
Horns? Starting with song with a mixture of guitars and horns? A post rock number with subtle horns? Ok, I dig it, it is a surprising beginning to this song which continues throughout the song. It lets the guitar move into lighter, more complex riffs and chords, whilst the horns carry the heavy tone for the band. It is a brilliant song, it is an intriguing and different concept and it is one that can safely be shown as an example of being off the beaten track. It is a great, great number and one that I love more with each repeat spin.
04 - Lady Led
By comparison, 'Lady Led' is almost conventional compared to the style of lunacy on 'Gettin' Sick'. It is a straight forward post-rock number which is heavily in debt to the Melvins. It is a good song, it has a strong riff that sounds as if it is paces around like an animal about to attack, growling as if it is almost on the cusp of exploding. But it does not quite get there to be honest, it feels like it has been restrained a little too much. Not a bad number, but there is something missing from the overall result.
05 - Hollow Man
'Hollow Man' sees Buzzøøko take the speed out of their musical equation and slows everything down to a menacing, sludge driven beast that slowly keeps the feedback/anger/aggression on a leash. It is released in small bursts of noise, peppering this song with small points of tension that shine like a mirror against the dark and sinister noise. It is a fantastic number, one that you should be patient with as it is not an instant classic. I prefer it this way, I like that it is a slow burner, it gives more with each repeated performance and it just keeps on delivering.
06 - P.S.H.
A straight forward post-rock number, it is a dynamic one that has a fuck load of aggression and power in the performance. The Melvins influence is (once again) on full display here and it a brilliantly delivered. There are no wasted notes, no useless passages and it just keeps on building on a simple riff to the point where it transcends those small begins and smashes down like a wave of sound on the listener.
07 - The Riot
Ending the album is 'The Riot' which keeps the pattern of the band going, there is no OTT distortion used, there is powerful drumming, deep bass sounds and the guitar is played within an inch of its life. It is a great ending for this album, one that rumbles on with so much aggression that it does not need to be drenched in feedback to make your teeth rattle. It is a great ending to this album.
To fully understand how I have arrived at my conclusion for this album, I wish to discuss my initial reaction to this album. At first, I was a little underwhelmed to be honest as I was expecting more noise due to the list of bands who had inspired Buzzøøko. If I had have went for a 'shot from the hip' review, it would have been a totally different review. Then, I gave myself a re-education, started again and went into the album with a fresh pair of eyes, to listen to it without thinking about their influences. In doing that, it opened up the album in a total different way, showing me the talent of Buzzøøko and it was a great revelation. You must give this album time, it is totally worth the effort once you realise what it is all about. It is an album that has a quirky and diverse edge which will not have many casual fans, but people who get into "GIZA" will be "hardcore" into it. This is because Buzzøøko do not deal in grey areas on this album, they focus on the horizon and want to see what is beyond it. "GIZA" is a great album, a class debut and one which I would recommend to anyone with alternative tastes in sound.
9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost......
Top track - Hollow Man
You can purchase GIZA on the Retro Vox Records Bandcamp page here.
You can purchase GIZA on Amazon here.
You can follow the activities of Buzzøøko on Facebook here.
You can stream GIZA on Spotify here.
You can stream GIZA on Deezer here.
You can stream GIZA on Tidal here.
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