2 By Bukowski
2 By Bukowski is a group that I'd heard a lot about before I actually heard them. I read reviews where they were called highly surprisingly and impossible to pigeonhole, and I read others where they were called frustrating (as well as reviews that called them both). After hearing their second album Drink From My Bastard Grail, I'd have to say that I probably side with the latter most argument. Formerly a completely instrumental band (they make their first use of vocals on this release), they're definitely hard to toss into any sort of category, but while their music is sometimes frustrating, it is also often times quite amazing.
The opening track of "Chopperfuck" is easily one of the most difficult tracks on the release, opening with almost tribal drumming and dirty, distorted layers of guitars that squeal and moan while orchestra bells ring out underneath the squall. This beginning goes on for about 5 minutes (repeating nearly the same riff) until it drops off and vocals by Karine Charff of AMP float gently over the subdued background. It doesn't stay quiet for too long, though, as the track ends by trudging through a weird, pseudo-metal march.
The following track of "I Am Ready For Death In This Dominion" works much better, building from only piano into a long crescendo and release that reminds one of Come On Die Young-era Mogwai. Moving in completely different directions, "The Last Aerie" mixes slightly faltering electronic programming with a pretty piano melody before a quiet wash of synths and subtle guitars enter towards the end and pulls the somewhat disparate sounds together. Meanwhile, "Sacrament" sounds like a post rock update of an old Italian horror film soundtrack.
Despite the somewhat odd combination of sounds, Drink From My Bastard Grail actually flows pretty well (other than the over-the-top first track and slightly metal closer of "I Am Continuum"). 2 By Bukowski definitely inhabits an odd universe of sound, though. It's not really that far removed from groups like the aforementioned Mogwai, but definitely a little more left of center and with slightly more esoteric influences. If you like your instrumental rock with a bit of the magick, 2 By Bukowski delivers.