Buke & Gase, Ahleuchatistas

Rock
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Editorial Review

A violent, homemade sound
By Dan Miller
Friday, February 1, 2013

Don’t let the cutesy name fool you, Buke and Gase is no twee band. The New York-based duo may wield unconventional instruments -- they play an odd, self-modified baritone ukulele (the “buke”) and a guitar/bass hybrid (the “gase”) -- but the band’s style sometimes borders on sounding violent.

The songs on the band’s new album, “General Dome,” feature ugly, distorted instruments that growl just as much as they shriek. With foot-pedaled drums, the rhythms rumble and propel the songs along like hulking dinosaurs.

Singer Arone Dyer’s feminine voice doesn’t do much to soften the band’s sound. Her high, chantlike style gives her an odd sort of power -- as if she were in control of the musical storm. On “My Best Andre Shot,” her voice angelically rises over gunshot-like percussion and vigorous strumming of the band’s custom instruments.

Although not overtly angst-driven, the album is permeated by a sort of calm rage. On the relatively spare “Hard Times,” Dyer gently croons over the darkly purring gase. On the album’s title track, which is rife with darkly mechanical beats and twisting, noisy sounds from the buke, she utters, “I carry a crest of weight  / Chest dense with general doom.”

Despite the set-up and name, Buke and Gase doesn’t seem gimmicky. To the contrary, its loud, prickly, female-fronted rock seems fresh, if sometimes difficult to swallow.