By Buck 65
This is the latest long playing offering from Canadian hip hop poet Buck 65. His voice is a deep and rich drawl spilling out his lyrics above the varying musical backdrops. In fact backdrops is a misguiding word to use, for they are far more than that. Processed beats combine with some beautiful piano to create a beautiful base upon which the words can flow thick and fast over or glide slowly above.
Strings and pedal steel seep into the equation and there's a real combination of musical genres all being fused by Buck 65's modern poetry. There are vocal contributions from Tim Rutili, Tara White and Frenchwoman Claire Berest, whose duets with Buck have their voices contrasting beautifully, her's high and soft, his low and gravelly. Buck himself slips into some French on the piano reprise of "Devil's Eyes".
The lyrics vary from the bleak in 'The Floor', "The old man was under attack and was weak and continued to beat us several times a week" to the plain strange on 'Blanc Bec', "Skeleton on fire riding on a motorcycle", but Buck 65 always has a tale to tell and this is one of those albums where you will have to go back and revisit time and again until you are sure you have the story straight and as you catch more and more of the lyrical content you'll be drawn further into these tales.
The tempo shifts between songs but the infectious melodies and the almost hypnotic vocals remain a constant. It's part hip hop, part rock n roll, part alt.country, part easy listening, part poetry recital but wholly wonderous.