The Grackles

Last noted the American duo Buck Gooter in 2015 with their release The Spider’s Eyes, a strong and ineradicable series of statements about modern alienation expressed through rough collisions of guitars, synths and nasty vocals…excellent stuff…we’re now treated to a survey / compilation of their work called First Decade (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR 216), where each of the ten tracks is drawn from one year of their existence, starting in 2005. Terry Turtle and Billy Brat play like two men possessed…their energy and anger never diminishing over the years, snarling and spitting out concentrated bullets of hate through coarse, flanged guitars, brutal drum machine rhythms, and basic rhythm-melody equations…

Once again the vocals are the strongest element, the singers constantly finding new ways to articulate and express their pain. It’s not just shouting and screaming (as many US hardcore and punk bands settled for in the 1980s and 1990s), but a richly-articulated sneer that contains many nuanced degrees of fury, disaffection, loneliness, and other negative emotions. It’s also possible to trace snapshots of their development and progress over time through this survey, starting with the earliest tracks ‘Cigarats’ and ‘I’ve Got Damage’ where there’s a fairly strong Chrome influence detectable, but by the time of ‘Ouija Guitar’ in 2010 the band have grown a much stronger identity of their own, and there’s less reliance on horrible guitar FX pedals to produce the requisite sense of doom and despair, which instead is mostly delivered by Turtle’s playing, strumming the guitar with the same sort of ferocious attacking force he would use to beat up a man.

Throughout, Buck Gooter’s approach to songs is basically linear – none of that sissy nonsense to do with verse-chorus construction or chord changes for these gumps – instead, it’s all pretty much one idea repeated for four or five minutes in a straight line, with minimal variations on the patterns…this is a very effective way to hammer home the simplistic, sloganeering statements they are making about contemporary life. The release prints all their record covers in full colour on the back, and there’s a series of photos of the duo as an insert…you wouldn’t want to mess with either of these guys, Terry Turtle in particular projecting the image of a war-scarred veteran of the Anarchy wars by way of biker culture, snarling at the camera with his greying beard and tattoos. From September 2015.