Call them what you want, but Buke and Gase’s approach to instrumentation isn’t nonsensical — inventive is a more appropriate moniker. The melodies created by the “buke,” a former baritone turned ukelele turned six-string, and the “gase,” part guitar and part bass, resound organically. The honesty reverberates through the duo’s second album, General Dome, a follow-up to 2010’s Riposte. Here, the duo delves into a sonic realm that’s considerably sunnier than that of their previous release, but with lyrics that still smile while spitting.
Arone Dyer’s vocals, from squeals to harsh wails, unabashedly appear at the forefront of the duo’s homegrown instrumentation. Jury’s out on what the title of the album means, but the album itself is very much concerned with architecture — more specifically, symmetry.
The handcrafted buke and gase on General Dome resound as careful accompaniments structured around Dyer’s vocal stylings. The effect complements her voice, which falls somewhere between Liz Phair on opener “Houdini Crush”, Kathleen Hannah’s riot grrrl growl, and Karen O’s yelps on “In the Company of Fish.”
Given their history of working with post-punk noise bands, the duo knows a thing or two about handcrafting noise into a medium that’s not only palatable, but pleasant. The danger of General Dome is that it runs the risk of treading the line between jarring and jam-worthy. Their sutured songs aren’t singular in nature or theme, which makes it a gem for sonic sleuths. But it’s not exactly the most accessible of listens to a general audience.
Sure, the tracks on General Dome prowl, ever exploring uncharted territories. Yet the band isn’t listlessly searching to find their identity somewhere in between jangles and spurts. They tell you from the get-go: We’re not tourists, we’re here to stay.
Essential Tracks: “Houdini Crush”, “Split Like a Lip, No Blood on the Beard”