Former REM man Peter Buck has always kept busy with side-projects, and this solo LP is his third under his own name. Warzone Earth is a straight-up rock record, on which Buck brings in a stack of famous friends: Kris Novoselic and Jeff Tweedy (of Nirvana and Wilco respectively) to name just two. LP on Mississippi Records.
5/10 Clinton Staff review, 22 October 2015
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, there was a reason Peter Buck wasn’t allowed near a microphone in R.E.M’s 30 year career. Just imagine this gruff bark ‘illuminating’ ‘Perfect Circle’ or ‘Everybody Hurts’.
On ‘Playhouse’ Buck destroys 30 years worth of work in one fell swoop both by allowing an awful introductory guitar solo but secondly by his vocal ‘performance’. It is a sound that is closer the Muppet Gonzo than any previous human has managed. You look everywhere for the sparks which made him such a creative guitarist and songwriter. ‘Movie Star’ gets the closest to the plangent chords he was once known for and take the vocal off ‘Headful of Rain’ and it’s fine mid period jangly R.E.M. It has a nice catchy chorus actually but everywhere the vocal holds it back.
What can be done? Can Buck learn how to sing at the ripe old age of 58? Should he get guests in? A voice transplant maybe? Shame as i’m enjoying bits of the music. It’s dead raggedy but with hints of flair amongst the bluesy mess.
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