Buck Gooter - Finer Thorns [Digital Download]
Finer Thorns is the Buck Gooter’s 18th album in 14 years, and second for independent Philadelphia label Ramp Local. The duo -- self-described as a "primal industrial blues band" -- has managed to gain the recognition of underground luminaries like Henry Rollins, and has toured both the United States (every year for the past 14 years) and Europe with A Place To Bury Strangers, Guerrilla Toss, The Sediment Club and ONO. Their live shows are possibly even more energetic than their breakneck recordings; in performance, vocalist/synthethist/percussionist Billy Brett will flail around the room, brandishing his iconic serpent-like facial expression -- tongue out, eyes rolled into the back of his head. Terry Turtle dons his signature mask and chain mail, his acoustic guitar hangs low around his neck and is adorned with a hallucinatory painted finish; he's a stoic figure while Billy thrashes about the stage.
Musically, Buck Gooter's sound is filled with manic howls, melodic synth sequences, crisp and pummeling drum machines, and highly distorted guitar, resulting in a cacophonous punk-industrial haze a la Nine Inch Nails, Iggy Pop and Grinderman. Finer Thorns is their most refined record, but by no means should “refined” be confused with “gentle.” In many ways, Finer Thorns is a protest album, musing on the environment, violence, resource allocation, and colonialism - spoiler alert: they’re not into colonialism. Buck Gooter’s interpersonal dynamic is also moving, and imperative to understanding why the band is so unique. There’s about a thirty year age gap between Billy and Terry, but you probably couldn’t tell by the band’s balance. Spend a few minutes talking to Buck Gooter, and you’re liable to be shocked and inspired. In the band’s 14 years, Buck Gooter’s been a subcultural force, but following their first LP on Ramp Local, 100 Bells, they've finally started to crest their head out of their underground hole.