February 7th, 2013 1:03pm

When Your Hands Are Tied

Buke and Gase “Houdini Crush”

Neither member of Buke and Gase actually plays guitar, but yet, they’re one of the few genuinely interesting new guitar bands to pop up in recent years. Both players are using modified versions of ukelele and bass, but playing them both more or less as you would a guitar, albeit with a different tonality. If you didn’t know this, you’d just assume this was straight up guitar being played by someone thoughtful and clever. They actually remind me a lot of mid ’90s Soundgarden, with their odd tunings, unexpected phrasings, and peculiar meters applied to straight forward pop-rock frameworks. They don’t have a proper drummer so you don’t get that extra layer of complexity or power, but that works out for them – a song like “Houdini Crush” is dense enough, and anything else thrown into the mix would compromise the moments when this feels sorta weightless and misty.

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