Three powered

The one snuck up on me. I enjoyed what I was hearing, but at first I wasn't going to do a review. Then "Bubbles" dropped, and I finally figured out what was going on.

Wizard of the Eye

For starters, "Bubbles" is what it might sound like if the Jesus Lizard were to do a Shins song. That alone is pretty incendiary. The forced fusing of relatively disparate indie rock sounds somehow manages to feel normal, especially in the context of the album itself.

The songs here have the freewheeling rock feel of the 70s, dipping into mellow haze, stoner rock and pretty much everything else from time to time. But the execution is very much of the 80s. This trio attacks its songs with gusto, and so even the mellow moments are filled with an intellectual intensity.

Like Marah, another Philadelphia band, Busses don't stick to any one sound. In general, the though seems to be, "We've got a bass, a guitar and some drums . . . let's see what we can do with that." But rather than going all power trio, these boys plug in their prog tendencies into the dirty side of rock. They get some friends to toss in the occasional keyboard or horn accoutrement. In general, the production and arrangements have a gritty feel which tends to obscure the almost-clinical execution.

All of that could be saying that Busses doesn't really know what it wants. But I don't think that's true. Writers like me have been lamenting the absence of great indie rock (as opposed to the snoozer rock that has dominated the "indie" scene for a while now), but I'm thinking we just aren't listening enough. Busses is a rock band in the grand old tradition. Sammy Hagar got it exactly wrong: There are a myriad of ways to rock. And Busses seems determined to try as many of them as possible.

Godspeed boys. And save me a seat for the journey.

Jon Worley

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