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Buke and Gase: Function Falls (Brassland) 

This indie-rock duo from Brooklyn recently changed their name ever so slightly (from the original Buke and Gass) because casual listeners and fans alike were mispronouncing it. The name refers to their unique, customized instruments: Arone Dyer's "buke," a six-string baritone ukulele; and Aron Sanchez's "gass," a guitar-bass hybrid.

click to enlarge CD1.jpg

As a stopgap between their 2010 debut album, Riposte, and a new full-length in 2013, the pair released this four-song EP, which is something of a departure from the heavy folk-blues sound of their debut. This one's likely going to win over listeners initially with its bold, darting interpretation of New Order's classic "Blue Monday."

That tune also is a good entry point for the thorny music of Buke and Gase, which shares similarities with the music of bands such as CocoRosie and recent tour mates Deerhoof. The song allows listeners to experience the Buke and Gase sound in a familiar context. Both play electronic effects boxes and percussion devices with their feet, creating a surprisingly rich sound as backdrop for Dyer's asymmetrical vocals. There's a trancelike quality that belies the off-kilter art-rock arrangements.

On "Misshaping Introduction" and "Tending the Talk," Buke and Gase sound a little like a smaller version of Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists, if they were art-school punks. Dyer sings prettily enough, but you'll never get bored or predict the direction in which she'll go.

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