Buck 65, Secret House Against The World

When Richard Tefry (a.k.a. Buck 65) released his critically acclaimed Warner debut Talkin' Honky Blues (2003), it sounded like it had more in common with Tom Waits then anything circling the rap scene. But compared to his latest, Secret House Against The World, Blues was definitely more hip-hop influenced. Secret House is an eccentric mix of country-folk ballads ("The Suffering Machine," "Drunk Without Drinking"), off-kilter fuzz-rock ("Le 65isme," "Kennedy Killed The Cat") and voyeurism ("Drawing Curtains") — all the while blended with 65's half-rap, half-spoken word vocal style. While those aforementioned tracks are highlights, the true standouts include an ode to the late Johnny Cash "Rough House Blues" (65 does a pretty good impression of The Man In Black here), the creepy first single "Devil's Eyes," (which features a repetitive electric guitar chord, manic strings, and vocal delay effects) and a track which should be the next single, "Blood Of A Young Wolf." "Wolf" is set to a relaxing country sway, which presents some of 65's most honest lyrics: "I don't like this modern world/ Anti-intellect and marketing/ Pretty-pretty/ Who needs talent?" Secret House isn't perfect though; some minor quibbles include the embarrassing "Blanc-Bec" which has him spewing "Skeleton on fire! Ridin' a motorcycle!" Also, 65 sometimes sounds awkward in his songs — which might be credited to his ambitious blending of too many sounds. Ultimately, Secret House will take more than a few spins to fully enjoy, but sometimes those are the CDs that turn out to be classics. (Warner) Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

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