Bustello's Bustello | Record Review | Indy Week
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Bustello's Bustello 

(self-released)

Given the pedigree, it's hardly surprising that Bustello's eight-song debut EP is this catchy and sharply written. Frontman Ben Clarke led early-'90s outfit Metal Flake Mother, which released music on Mammoth Records. Bassist and producer John Plymale played with local icons Sex Police and The Pressure Boys before becoming a popular local studio man with Superchunk, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Tift Merritt.

Clarke's baritone croon lingers like smoke blown by the music's shimmy and sway here, echoing the shapely, summery warmth of Britpop acts like Blur and Pulp. The insistent mid-tempo hooks counterbalance any frothy undercurrent, with bursts of spiky guitar that recall the churn of Polvo. The resulting tension conceives a sound that's amenable but not necessarily easy—you can take it home, but you'd best not put Barry White on when you come through the door.

While the songs are relatively brief (half barely top 2:30, and nothing lasts longer than 3:30), Clarke still leads his six-string through an exciting variety of paces, eschewing the typical repeated riff gallop. It gives the songs more staying power, if perhaps making them less immediate. Thanks in large part to that guitar approach, each track establishes its own identity. The most personable include the terrific, rockabilly-inflected "Flavorful Love" and pulsing opener, "No Right of Mine," which may be the most irrepressibly catchy number here, thanks to a great choral melody. The album-closing ballad, "In the Void," sounds something like The Replacements trying their hand at Britpop, swollen, textured rock plated by a bit of country swagger.

Bustello often sounds familiar yet never entirely derivative, and they're infectious without pandering. This debut might not feature songs you immediately rewind, but like a bad cold, these tunes keep returning.

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Where is the Q and A with Pepper?

by Alex Marsh on Record Review: Hardcore Titans Corrosion of Conformity Bring Pepper Keenan Back Into the Fold (Record Review)

There's bass in this. It's not a duo, at least in the recordings. …

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Most Recent Comments

Where is the Q and A with Pepper?

by Alex Marsh on Record Review: Hardcore Titans Corrosion of Conformity Bring Pepper Keenan Back Into the Fold (Record Review)

There's bass in this. It's not a duo, at least in the recordings. …

by Steve Grothmann on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Remember that time the "journalist" took to the comments section to fire off a snarky response when called out on …

by JayDubz on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Pretty sure that if the press release we received had mentioned Chris Grubbs, the article would have reflected that crucial …

by David Klein on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Pretty sure John Meier hasn't been in this band for quite some time and Chris Grubbs wrote and recorded this …

by JayDubz on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

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