Saturday, 2 December 2017

Album: Buí - Eugene

Buí - Eugene

Info: Founded in June 2017, Buí is a collaborative music project, based around the music of Josh Healy, formerly of Josh The Human. The first album, 'Eugene' was released on the 27th of November, 2017. Recorded by Vic Bronzini-Fulton at Earth Music Studios, 'Eugene' features a variety of guest musicians from Belfast and further afield, including Joel Harkin, Lady Pocket Drummer Matt Sloan, Colonel Chocolate & Justice Triangle members Jason Jackson and Adam Sloan, as well as former Josh The Human members Eoin Johnson & Rónán McQuillan. 

First single,'People Don’t Think', and its B-side 'Ode To You' are testament to Buí's broad range of musical influences, including Bon Iver, Luke Kelly, The Microphones and Sparklehorse. While the former is a brief, synth led pop song, the latter is a progressive, experimental ballad. Both tracks also display experimental and electro-acoustic influences, encountered by Josh while studying for his BA in Music Technology and Sonic Arts at Queen’s University Belfast. Both tracks have received airplay locally and as far away as New York, and were described by BBC Radio Ulster DJ and former Oppenheimer guitar Rocky O’Reilly as "endearingly wonky".

Buí's debut album Eugene crosses a wide array of styles, on its lo-fi DIY moments it reminds me of Pavement's Brighten The Corners album, and at others a local Belfast flavour comes to the fore á la Hot Cops. First track 'People Don't Think' is the early mixture of both acts, the off-beat low vocal tones on the verses contrasting with the fuzzed out chorus for delightful introduction to his sound. 'Hello Sun' has all of the hallmarks of bedroom DIY indie-pop with a slow-building tinge of moroseness and introspection, this subtle strain of pained emotion is to be found all across the albums tracks and provides a tempered balance to the general sense of light-heartedness.

'Golden and Navy' is perhaps the strongest and most overt expression of the song-writers burden, stripped down acoustic strums and a vocal that recalls Elliott Smith or Sufjan Stevens exhibit a personal sense of long-lingering loss. On 'When the Fun Stops' Buí presents a charmingly lopsided slice of electro-pop, the upbeat energy carefully pasting over more serious lyrical themes. Following the wistful tones of 'Some Things Take A Long Time' the boot is stuck in with a bang on the delightful mania of 'I Think We Can Do Better Too', it's a carnival of chaotic math-rock sounds and is a clear highlight on the album.

'Data' sees Healy delve deep into his electronic soundscape kit, a gritty affair that almost drowns out his vocal, this achieves the purpose of relaying a monologue filled with anxiety and doubt, and that sentiment of affliction makes itself known once more. The see-saw between calm lo-fi moods and poppy angst continues on 'Athboy', a grinding distorted intro leads to a light-filled melange of defiance and merriment in equal measure, wobbling guitars imparting a nice grunge edge on yet another highlight on Eugene.

I think my favourite track on the album comes right at the end, 'Ode To You' is a wondrous medley of all of Buí's styles blended together, all of the moods expressed throughout share a space with each other here, the calm, the chaos and the contrary. It also shows an artist that thinks on his feet, a head full of ideas and competing flashes of sounds jostling with each other for position, which is essentially what makes Eugene such a lovable collection of tracks.

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