It has been a moment since I spun through a Buck-O-Nine album. In real time, I gravitated to 1997’s Twenty-Eight Teeth when it came out. It was that mixture of battling life’s uncertainty with So-Cal teenage angst. It’s all thrown into a blender and spewed out to sound a little like The Descendents and Face To Face while not being a lot of either. Looking at Spotify’s Discography rundown, both “My Town” and “Round Kid” teeter at the top of the popularity list.
After Twenty-Eight Teeth the momentum slowed down throughout the 00s. Even though the band never called it quits, hearing about a new release captured my curiosity Could Buck-O-Nine still be relevant after a 10 year album nap? The answer is yes.
Buck-O-Nine – Top of the World
Let’s start with the oldie but goodie “My Town.” The band re-invents their seminal song with little deviation from the original. The quality of the new version is ska as fuck, tooting horns in ways the original cannot stack up to thanks to updated production standards. Jon Pebsworth no longer sounds like a disgruntled teen. He is more like a gruffy storyteller and now “My Town” sounds more like a folk story.
Fundaymental is let grit and more soul, filling the release with a heaping load of ska-soaked songs, sometimes looking towards Old Soul as inspiration (I’m looking at you, “We Won’t Fight”). They don’t bend traditional like The Skatalites, but they do give a cool vibrancy in the way Hepcat would skank.
Buck-O-Nine – My Town
“Top of the World” spins a psycho rhythmic pulse that is driven while “Tuff Rudeboy” pushes one of their more persistent grooves on the album. The sparkle in this album is that 90% of the original musicians still reside in the band, adding bassist Andy Platfoot to the lineup.
Moreso than Sustain, this album is a testament to a group how has grown up. Living the adult life and taking care of families, this is a different world Buck-O-Nine lives in. But this new venture is an exciting one for the band and Fundaymental can easily be placed alongside the classic material.