This review is from derstandard.at translated by our steadfast and noble friend of two decades, Klaus Hoffman:
PETER BUCK: THE RICH MEN’S PRANKS
Very quietly, the former R.E.M. guitarist has just released his first solo-abum on Mississippi Records.
It’s not about the money, that much is clearly obvious. If it were so, Peter Buck would have turned to a bigger label and would have been warmly embraced there. Instead, the former R.E.M. guitarist choses Mississippi Records to quietly, almost secretly release his debut solo-album. Mississippi Records is the name of a record store in Portland, Oregon, that also runs a label as a side business. Even before R.E.M.’s split Buck was a musician on the go, lending his guitar playing to diverse side-projects; yet stepping up to the mic in order to sing himself was a thing he has barred himself from, so far; as he puts it that was out of lowliness. He says he was scared of being compared to Michael Stipe, singer of the now defunct band from Athens, Ga.
That inhibition has been overcome now, and after listening to the album it seems unfounded. Not that Buck turns out to be an exceptionally gifted singer. Neither is he a bad one, yet the songs on his album have very little in common with the sound that made R.E.M. famous across the globe. Indeed, he pays homage to R.E.M.’s well known pillar saints but does so in a refreshing, coarse way. The album sounds like a return to his beginnings, something the music fanatic and collector Buck clings to without forcing himself to perfectionism. It kicks off with a garage rocker, 10.000.000 B.C., reminiscent of the art of R.E.M.’s former label mates The Cramps. There, Buck — through an old mic – howls and growls like an undead, countered by a choir doing bright Ã¢â¬ËUhlalas’. You can tell that Buck and his musician friends — Mike Mills, Corin Tucker and Jenny Conlee amongst them — are having fun. Psychedelic trips to the late 60s follow, now and then enhanced by analogue electronic gear. At which one could accuse a song such as Ã¢â¬ËTravel Without Arriving’ of not doing so at all; arriving, that is. Still, with the song reminding a bit of Camper Van Beethovens early efforts one cannot be cross with Buck.
Next to off-key rockers like Ã¢â¬ËGive Me Back My Wig’ Buck entertains with songs clearly influenced by Power-Pop. In the case of the 55 year old Buck that means influences from the band Big Star and their very own Alex Chilton. These result in pretty, melodic songs that breathe the air of unfinished business yet are soaked with passion, heart and enthusiasm. And in the end, this is all that counts. And since Buck does not care about a quick buck at all, he chose to release his album on vinyl only. Limited to 2.000 units.
The rich men’s pranks or put differently: For lovers only.