PETER BUCK – I Am Back to Blow Your Mind Once Again

Album: I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again

Artist: Peter Buck

Label: Mississippi Records

Release Date: February 11, 2014

Peter Buck 2-18

4007 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227 (503) 282-2990


 Wild, wooly and beautifully disheveled, the second solo album from the erstwhile R.E.M. guitarist elaborates upon the modern primitivist ethos displayed upon his self-titled 2012 debut (reviewed here at BLURT), dipping its toes into Nuggets-inspired garage and lo-fi psych alongside pristine, shimmering pop and surprising moments of anthemism that wouldn’t have been out of place in a setlist from the Athens boys during their heyday.

 Right from the get-go, Buck & Co. nail it, with choogling thumper “Ride That Road” serving up the perfect blend of fuzzed-out guitars, honky-tonk piano and Buck’s Tom Waitsian vocal growl. From there it’s a high-cholesterol rock ‘n’ roll buffet for Buck, Scott McCaughey, Bill Rieflin and Kurt Bloch (plus guests like the Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee on keyboards and Patterson Hood and Corin Tucker on vocals). There’s the sinewy power pop of “Life Is Short” and a reprise of last year’s limited-edition 45 “(You Must Fight to Live) On the Planet of The Apes”—which is a cover of a tune originally done by garage gonzosThe Mummies, previously reviewed here, and indicative of Buck’s collector-geek approach to making music. Meanwhile, contrasts abound in the slob-bucket blooze of “Here In Heaven” and a strange-yet-haunting folky interlude for acoustic guitar called “Welcome to the Party” (here, Buck’s harsh growl turns to raspy whisper, and it’s downright tender). And in classic tip-o-the-hat fashion, there’s a Ramones-styled 3-chord raveup, “Gotta Get Outta the House,” replete with Beach Boys backing vocals from McCaughey and Rieflin, plus a terrific, horns-laden riff rocker, “West of Sunset,” that deserves to find a home on some future Pebbles or Nuggets inspired collection of 21st century underground anthems.

 Thirteen lucky tunes in all, nary a one of them a throwaway, and all deserving of prominent setlist placement whenever Buck decides to mount a major tour. (He’ll be opening a handful of dates for Alejandro Escovedo starting this week, incidentally.) Hey, maybe he’ll even resurrect the late, great tune “White Tornado” for the occasion…

 I Am Back to Blow Your Mind Once Again is, like its predecessor, only available on vinyl. No CD equivalent, not even a download card tucked into the sleeve as a sop to all you unreconstructed iPod owners in the peanut gallery. That’s fine with yours truly, and in truth, this is the kind of album that has the vibe and old-school aesthetic of sitting around, passing out beers and spinning stacks of wax over the course of the evening. Close your eyes and you can picture Buck himself jumping up, grabbing a battered 45 and excitedly dropping the needle on it as he extols the musical virtues of some obscure artist who never received the proper due. That excitement is infectious, and IABTBYMOA is a vinyl lover’s delight. Even the record label itself, a yellow/orange swirl subtly reminiscent of the old UNI Records design, aims to please, what with its hypnosis-inducing inward circular motion. Gimme the wax, Jack.

 DOWNLOAD (so to speak): “Ride That Road,” “Here In Heaven,” “West of Sunset,” “Welcome to the Party”

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