"Bulbul 6"

(Exile On Mainstream 2008)Bulbul - Bulbul 6

The Austrians known as Bulbul are suffering from a mild case of bipolar disorder on "Bulbul 6," their first for Exile On Mainstream. Their loose, goofy take on pop, complete with falsetto vocals, the ricocheting of pinging synthesizers and flaring horns are contrasted by stern growling and instrumental noise that isn't in any rush to get where it's going. Of course, even when Bulbul aren't completely serious, you kind of get the feeling that they aren't wearing smiles.

Despite enlisting renowned electronic music producer Patrick Pulsinger, "Bulbul 6" is relatively subtle with the synthesizers action. Instead the album comes off as a well blended combination of noise, experimentation and, on occasion, drone. While the influence of bands like the Melvins does appear, on this album Bulbul seem more indebted, at least in part, to Primus. On tracks like "Where The Hell Is DJ Fett," "Tighten" and "Daddy Was A Girl I Liked" the band adopts Les Claypool's larger than life sound, full of playful and lively driving bass rhythms. And even when there are vocals, you get the vague impression that Bulbul might be happier playing instrumentals that avoid overly fancy riffs. "Changzheng" brings to mind a herd of charging elephants all equipped with horns before the album fades out on "Das Stück," a nearly twelve minute piece of creaking drone.

While the album might be split between Bulbul's noisy definition of pop and free form instrumentals, "Bulbul 6" oozes out easily and stays interesting with each track -- not to mention some unexpectedly catchy ones.


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