Secret House Against the World
Try to look past the fact he cancelled his hometown record release and take Secret House for what it is: a solid step in the evolution of Richard Terfry’s musical journey. To understand Buck 65, one must know that he’s prone to sudden changes in direction from record to record. It makes for exciting stuff. However, his move toward indie-rock will surprise even the most open-minded fan. Writing and recording with Chicago art-rock band Tortoise, several songs are tight, angular and stick like crunchy peanut butter. Single “Kennedy Killed the Cat” features Terfry’s attempt at singing; he layers “Devil’s Eyes” with vocoder and strings. There’s also two English-French duets with his fiancée Claire Berest on “Drawing Curtains” and “Le 65isme,” the latter capturing Buck 65 the Parisian in the catchy shout-out chorus of “Sex! Cinema! Politique!” The years on the road have obviously changed the Mount Uniacke native. The hip-hop foundation he once relied on is simply another colour on his palette, with the odd scratch thrown in for good measure. That said, the rootsy beat poetry of Talkin’ Honky Blues is still evident (the opener “Rough House Blues”) and on the Johnny Cash-esque “Black Angel.” Secret House won’t be the record that makes Buck 65 a household name, but it won’t hurt his reputation as one of the most unique voices in alternative — never say hip-hop — music.