Year Alibi (2005, NoStrings)
Upon clicking on Bukana's website one is greeted
with the band either sincerely or sarcstically proclaiming itself
'the most reclusive band in Scottish pop history'. Well this may
very well be true. Before embarking on a review I tend to snoop
about Googling for band info, blurbs and even previous reviews of
the album if I'm stumped and need a little nudging. Well, I found
nothing but the band's homesite, where I also discovered that Bukana
has been together playing out as a unit for over 8 years but Eight
Year Alibi happens to be their debut offering.
you know me when I've grown, will you know me when I've changed?'
pipes vocalist, Crilly, on the opener. I thought someone gave me
the slip and replaced Bukana with a Moe. or Train CD. Hey, customs
has been known to pull off far worse tomfoolery. Admittedly I was
a little alarmed (and prepared for the worst) at this choice of
introduction as it's probably the least appealing track on the album
but thankfully the band takes 'new shape' rather quickly.
foot-stompin' beat, harmonica and slide guitar inject a bit of variety
into 'What's The Game?'. Also, at this point I began to realize
the relevance of the band being together for so long before finally
setting their efforts to tape - harmonies. The whole gang pretty
much joins in on the fun here and it works wonders. 'By The Time'
ripples with radio-ready hooks/chorus and a playful Cake-like guitar
of the band members share boss vocal duties all throughout the album
(as well as harmonize) but when bassist/keyspuncher, Russell Kostulin,
parks his voice atop all - the band shines. Kostulin's vocals are
a dead ringer for (the equally-reclusive) Emmit Rhodes - now picture
that filtered through a forgotten Ben Folds or Badly Drawn Boy track
and you have a most delectable combination. 'Baby In Blue' and 'Have
A Holiday' are both splendid, uplifting tunes in that vein while
'These Times...' lullabies the album to a close. Kostulin's cool
delivery adds a needed touch here - otherwise the album might have
just become another alternative pop/rock effort with a few decent
songs on it, thus falling out of my good graces.
you tried convincing me that Bukana were from Scotland before my
knowing I'd probably mistake you for one of those wily customs pranksters.
This is certainly something I would expect to come pouring forth
from Collegetown, USA, hot on the heels of a successful new single
on the local radio station. There are a few misses here but ultimately
this is a strong debut with 3-4 great pop songs you can include
on your next vacation mixtape.