Gutbucket: Dry Humping the American Dream (2004)
With a name like Gutbucket and an album title like Dry Humping the American Dream , one might expect a certain amount of irreverenceand one would be right. Gutbucket is nothing if not counter-culture, but for all their anarchist leanings they are actually a group of talented players who have chosen to combine rapidly-changing movement form reminiscent of early Zorn with a punk attitude. But don't let their chaotic, occasionally head-banging style fool youthese players are influenced as much by the harmolodics of Ornette Coleman as they are by the thrashing of garage bands.
Equally capable of incorporating a diverse blend of styles within the confines of a single six-minute piece ("Dry Humping the American Dream") as they are creating an almost hypnotic and, yes, perhaps even lyrical ambience on "Another World is Possible," the four members of Gutbucket seem comfortable in a variety of spaces. Guitarist Ty Citerman can head-bang with the best of them ("Snarling Wrath of Angry Gods"), play havoc with "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" on the intro to "Liberation" or work polyrhythmic mind games with drummer Reverend Paul Chuffo ("Lift Cover, Pull Chord"). Saxophonist Ken Thomson is equally informed by Ornette Coleman as he is Albert Ayler. Bassist Eric Rockwin and Chuffo blend, if one can use that word here, into a rhythm section that is at times tight as, well, a drum and other times as chaotic as the world in which they believe we live.
There are a number of precedents for Gutbucket, including some of the staggering unison lines of Lost Tribe, although they were never this overtly aggressive; the extended forms of Rock In Opposition bands like Henry Cow, but they were never this thrashing; and even the sheer power of Sonic Youth, but they could never play this well. If Gutbucket seems to be a bundle of paradoxes, a collection of divergent sources, they are. And they are apparently as comfortable in front of a jamband audience as they are a pogo-ing crowd.
It is within this series of contradictions that Gutbucket exists, and while they are unequivocally not for everyone's tastesthey'll send any jazz purists running for cover and fans of smooth jazz scrambling for the local barthey are an intriguing collection of players who seem intent on addressing their talents to a series of pastiche pieces that range from the amusing to the frightening. Dry Humping the American Dream is a raw, mostly energy-filled record that is calculated in its sense of disorientation and disorder; a real kick in the pants to anyone looking for an easy ride.
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Track Listing: Snarling Wrath of Angry Gods; Dry Humping the American Dream; Lift Cover, Pull Chord; O.J. Bin Laden; The Polka of Doom; War on Drugs; Should've Gone Before You Left; Dance of the Demented Pigeon; Another World is Possible; Liberation
Personnel: Reverend Paul Chuffo (drums), Ty Citerman (guitar), Eric Rockwin (bass), Ken Thomson (saxophone)