The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, September 24, 2010, Music

Buke & Gass

Riposte (Brassland)

At times on their debut, Riposte, Brooklyn duo Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez duel like early bluesmen. At others, they strip down their folk to downstrokes that blister and neck-snapping tempo changes. Such are the experimental results of this instrumental hybrid: Dyer plays the buke, a six-string baritone ukulele, and Sanchez the gass, a guitar/bass, both incorporating ankle bells, bass drums, and a "toe-bourine." This innovation gives opener "Medulla Oblongata" a slightly haunted feel, Dyer's vocals keening sweet and high, narrating backwoods spirituals with fervor. Despite a dark facade, Riposte has a soft pop center, even if the two instruments often get lost in culs-de-sac and Dyer's voice becomes overwhelming as its own instrument over 14 songs. Cut four or five tracks, and you've got something singular. (Buke & Gass opens for Bowerbirds and Efterklang at Mohawk, Friday, Sept. 24.)


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