I didnt know much about Buttonhead before listening to their new CD, Sofa King Cool, but I know them a little better now.
Sofa King Cool consists of 13 tracks, all of them crisp, tight modern rock n roll, the kind that raises your energy level without giving you a headache. Theres nothing out-of-place in these songs; they all sound good, they all have catchy hooks, and they all benefit from the kind of local production that is getting to be standard.
If these guys havent been together long, they manage to sound like they have been. Jason Hess on bass and drummer Marky (no last name listed) provide a solid but not plodding rhythm section. Jason Kocks is a talented guitar player. Time after time his playing forms the solid foundation on which Buttonhead stands; when its time to turn up the volume and increase the speed, hes able to do so efficiently.
Joel Young is a strong singer, at times, sounding a little Eddie Vedderish, at others, a little Lou Reedish; in any case, he never gets overwhelmed by the band. In fact, on Sofa King Cool you can actually understand the lyrics. These guys are proud of what they wrote. What a concept.
Perhaps the band didnt intend the result (sometimes unintended results are best), but Buttonhead more than occasionally has a sort of hard 60s sound, driving but real melodies and a singer you can follow.
Just when you start to pigeonhole Buttonhead, however, they throw in
a song like Head, with the talented Mr. Young practically yodeling in psychic anguish over some mental pain and the rest of the band performing a sort of brain salad surgery on the listener.
Some or all of Buttonheads members apparently have suffered severe girl troubles; its a pretty common theme, and one I could relate to if I werent so darned old. There is an off-kilter inventiveness to the lyrics that is very appealing. I think about you and the room turns blue, from But U and my favorite, Would you feel bad if you felt like me?/ broke my arm lending you a hand, from Knew. A worthy effort.