A Modest Proposal

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Imagine the bastard child of King Crimson and Soft Machine, with Albert Ayler and Eugene Chadbourne as godparents, and you come close to capturing the essence of Gutbucket. There's plenty of madness from this quartet, but there's a method to it, a twisted prog rock aesthetic that can plunge from the manic to the deliciously melodic (as on part of "Side Effects May Include," where saxman Ken Thomson becomes almost elegiac). Although they don't flaunt it, all the bandmembers are superb musicians, capable of moving through warped klezmer into avant jazz without missing a beat. However, none of this is showing off of the look-how-clever-we-are kind. Rather, it's music-making and exploring the edges, nibbling at them to re-create the elements and discover something new, which they do admirably. It's a superb record, one that fans will love, although they're perhaps too extreme to appeal to the unconverted.

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