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Published: 2004/04/27
by Pat Buzby

Dry Humping the American Dream – Gutbucket

Cantaloupe Records 21021

If you saw this CD title and clicked on the

review link, you'll probably enjoy this disc. If

you're expecting political commentary, though, you

might be disappointed to find that Gutbucket is an

all-instrumental proposition. However, you probably

already have the right idea about what songs with

titled like "O.J. Bin Laden" and "War on Drugs" will

sound like: agitated, fast-paced numbers without

letup.

A thoroughly NYC sax/guitar/bass/drums quartet,

Gutbucket makes thrashing, skittering jazz/rock. The

sound resembles both "downtown" Zorn-type music and,

for you oldsters, King Crimson in their "Schizoid Man"

saxophone days. Occasionally, we get the ironic

breakdown into a sentimental passage — otherwise, it's

wall-to-wall squealing, odd meters, off-kilter

ostinatos and crunchy riffs. A good indication of Ken

Thomson's saxophone style comes in the title cut when

he interrupts his squonky solo to actually scream

vocally, and guitarist Ty Citerman mangles and chops

the strings.

The only issue here is that, for a listener such as

this one, a dissonant riff in 7/4 is not necessarily

much fresher on the ears than a 12-bar blues or a love

song. After a while, the tone of Dry Humping the

American Dream becomes wearyingly unvaried. Bassist

Eric Rockwin gets half the composition credits, but

Thomson, for all his frenzy, hints at calmer, more

melodic terrain with his two contributions, and

Citerman delivers the token mellow (though not pretty)

cut with the penultimate number, "Another World is

Possible." Perhaps it's a matter of finding a more

balanced program the next time out, or perhaps putting

this one into shuffle mode.

These guys do what they do with chops and energy, and

they can't be in it for the money, so hats off. A bit

more variety and musicality, though, might be the key

to take this relationship beyond dry humping.

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