Buck Brothers

Me

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Released in 2006, Me is the rowdy debut LP from the U.K.-based Buck Brothers -- none of whom are actually named "Buck," nor are they siblings. The trio consists of Andy Duke (bass and vocals), Pete Sellers (guitar and vocals), and Horatio Agar aka Stixx (drums and vocals). They brought a whole new meaning to the phrase "life on the road" in early March of 2007, when The Guinness Book of World Records bestowed the Buck Brothers the award for "highest number of gigs performed in a 12-hour period" -- which took place in and around their native London. They went on to gain significant stateside exposure when MTV incorporated several of the combo's tunes into episodes of the show My Super Sweet 16. And with good reason, too, as the dozen high-energy selections on Me are a welcome return to crisp, compact songwriting, executed with a lean, no-frills approach. Perhaps there is some special mojo in Duke's skin-tight playing, as his bass -- a Rickenbacker model 4001 -- was once owned by none other than the Jam's Bruce Foxton. The opener, "Run, Run, Run, Run, Run," immediately bounds toward the finish line with a galvanic groove that drives the number in and out of the hypnotically catchy chorus. Contrasting the title, the lyrics to "Gorgeously Stupid" -- an anthemic ballad for the self-effacing codependent set -- are decidedly clever. While firmly entrenched in the roots of alternative and punk, there are viable traces of Brit-pop. "Which Me Do You Like?" erupts from a stinging guitar line that is sneering and foreboding, yet irresistibly fist-pumping thanks to a commanding cadence. The Buck Brothers' finely honed sense of humor spills into another atypical ballad, the modish "Mannish Girl." The taunting "nah-nah-nah-nah" in the refrain as well as the intense instrumentation -- particularly Duke's rapid-fire bass and Sellers' guitar daggers -- exude their trademark adrenaline-fueled methodology. The dizzying leads on "Liar" spiral out of control as Sellers punctuates the vocals with his potent electric fingering. The album's frenetic pace is tempered by "Together We Fall," building on an off-kilter introduction recalling the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant." It develops into a comparatively luminous direction that adapts to fit their style, as opposed to the converse. The ambiguity-free "Girls, Skirts, Boots, Bikes" is addictively maniacal with a mile-a-minute backbeat supporting the similarly freewheeling fast-and-furious fetish-like lyrical laundry list. Not a measure is wasted as the taut arrangement yields to a few razor-sharp syncopation interpolations. The affable "One Day I'll Say It" is another cut that could easily translate into pop success with an emphasis on the torrential tempo, leaving space for the melody to surface organically. This shouldn't be taken as a sign of weakness -- hence the skull-crushing riff commencing "Yes, No, Stay, Go, Do, Don't, Will, Won't," followed by Sellers' distorted and amped-up axe droning throughout "Wake Up Call." Bringing Me full circle is "She's Red" -- which is less of a communist outing than a twisted love song replete with lusty, robust symbolism, such as "She's like a Testorossa, top gear, runnin' with no brakes." Which in some ways likewise represents the sum total of the Buck Brothers' bollocks-free, premium-octane debut.

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