Bulbul, a family of song birds? Nope, the dictionary is wrong. Real definition, deranged and slightly insane alternative noise rock with a penchant for experimenting with all manner of sounds and invoking weird grinning in the listener. I could end the review there perhaps, as from that one sentence you should know whether this will appeal to you. However, I will continue as this release deserves far more words from this here reviewer.
BulBul are an Austrian band, new to my ears, who have waiting 6 years to unleash this album, the German title of which translates to ‘get your brain chopped into pieces’. The last album was ‘Bulbul 6’ which tells me two things, one, that they have now kicked out at least seven releases, and two, that it would seem that I have a lot of Bulbul to catch up on so I need to save my pennies.
This album is packed full of weirdness, loopiness, eclecticism, experimentalism and hedonism, did I mention weirdness? Oh yes. The kaleidoscopic headache inducing album cover gives some clue as the the journey the listener is about to commence.
Things kick of with ‘Fire’, one of the more upbeat tracks on the album, punky alternative off kilter rock that immediately made me want to get up and do my secret silly dance that I only do in the privacy of my own home. Yeah I love this album already! ‘Quicksand’ and ‘Gurdy’ also punch home with a similar vibe, chased by the hypnotic and psychadelic ebb and flow of the 9 minute ‘Kanzla’. At other times, the album’s tracks are delivered at a slower tempo such as ‘Bomb’ with an almost sinister vibe to it, embellished with scifi synth flourishes, and the arrhythmic and noisy ‘Fisole’. These tracks allow things to grind, clank and lope their way along taking an assortment of sound sources in along the way, including umbrellas, tennis rackets, buts of bikes and kitchenware etc. Fear not, or at least I didn’t experience fear, these odd ingredients merely spice up the otherwise (generally) traditional cacophony comprising of superbly captured percussion, noise rock guitars, scifi synths and a healthy dose of funky/dirty/sexy bass.
They key word I want to emphasis here is ‘fun’. I have returned to this album time and time again and always leave its grooves a happier person. To these ears it should appeal to fans of The Butthole Surfers, The Pixies, Beck (at his weirdest), Ghostigital and Big Black. I’m guessing John Peel would really have loved Bulbul and I hope you do too. Recommended!