Buck 65 – Secret House Against The World

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Wilfully defying categorisation, the latest album from Canadian Buck 65 throws everything from hip hop to electro to blues into the mix and comes out with something that is not just coherent, but an astonishing piece of work.

Combining a mellifluous delivery that is part Tom Waits, part Leonard Cohen, part Johnny Cash with some mean guitar, mournful piano and swathes of strings, this is a tour de force of storytelling and amusing wordplay (on SURRENDER TO STRANGENESS he dryly declares “Hip hop music ruined my life”) alongside a rapid-fire delivery of astonishingly varied sounds.

Added to this are the liberal use of gorgeous female vocals (THE SUFFERING MACHINE, CORRUGATED TIN FAÇADE), supremely funky bass (KENNEDY KILLED THE HAT) and the odd bout of impressive scratching (opener ROUGH HOUSE BLUES). The countrified hip hop and wired lo-fi rock give way to lush trip hop on the sensual DRAWING CURTAINS, and when Buck sings along to the closing piano version of DEVIL’S EYES in French, you can’t help enviously thinking that he’s just showing off.

In short, this is a superb record that grows with every listen. It’s so eclectic in style that everyone is bound to find something here to enjoy. If you’re one of the five billion people who bought Moby’s “Play”, you’ll want to pick this up.

6 stars