Refreshingly fun and nostalgic
Buck-O-Nine is a Ska Punk band from San Diego, California. Since their formation in 1991, the band has 10 releases, which includes six studio albums, one live album, one compilation album, and two EPs; their most recent being Fundaymental released in April 2019. It’s been 12 years since their previous studio album, Sustain, which was released August of 2007. As a band to thrive during the third wave of ska in the ’90s, the group has survived nowadays by mainly performing in California and the surrounding region.
With surviving third wave ska bands resurfacing amongst newer fourth wave ska bands, it is not surprising that Buck-O-Nine has thrown their hat back into the ring to help push the fourth wave further into popularity.
The intro track “Paint The Night Red” starts off fast and light with playful and quick stops that add to the fun and energetic vibe. The next track is the first introduction of the horn section. The tracks seems to cruise along happily with the horn harmonies that create an easygoing melody. The vocals have a deep and low resonance that is reminiscent of Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The lyrical content alludes to a more mature approach towards living your life with no regrets and remembering the good ‘ole days.
There is a bit of a weak spot on the album “With You I Can”. Vocalist Jon Pebsworth seems to struggle to hold out the note. Each sustained vocal note seems uncharacteristically drawn out, opposed to the more short, rhythmic, bouncy and upbeat vocal style demonstrated in other tracks. “YaYa” has an islander theme that incorporates a ukulele that is executed quite tastefully. “Tuff Rudeboy” has a lot of guitar that carries the melody for a change of pace. The chords held out over the rest of the pleasant entourage add a pleasant color.
Overall, Fundaymental is a fun and enjoyable album that is a welcomed addition to 2019. In today’s age, where mental awareness is at a peak, and genres like lo-fi jazz hop can have calming effects on people, the music industry seems to be gravitating more towards, unconventional instrumentation (such as horns, ukulele, harp, mandolin, etc) and further away from the standard drums, guitar and bass. Buck-O-Nine delivers with laid back, yet upbeat songs; this carefree and mellow approach is exactly what an anxiety-filled world needs.