Written by General Jabbo
With their self-titled debut, Connecticut-based Bushwhack delivers an atmospheric blend of experimental prog-rock that conjures up thoughts of Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree while maintaining their own original sound. The band’s members, some of whom have known each other since the first grade, are all 18- to 19-years old and the band is a four-piece instrumental outfit.
That’s right – no singer. As of last July, the band had posted on their MySpace page that they were looking for a singer, but, as in other instances, have not yet added one. Keyboardist, Frank Sacramone maintains that while he can see some songs needing vocals, the band wouldn’t want to have to “sacrifice the good instrumental parts we bring to the table.”
The CD opens with “In Solitude,” a moody piece with eerie piano right out of a horror flick and electronic programming not unlike Nine Inch Nails, before launching into “The Greatest Wall,” a Dream Theater-sounding cut with Asian overtones invoking the Great Wall of China. “Guacamole” is Primus meets Rush, with its odd time signatures and funky bass lines, yet it veers into much heavier territory than those bands typically cover.
“Sea of Tranquility” was written about its namesake on the moon and starts with a mellow mix of acoustic guitars with pianos and synths before building to its dramatic crescendo of metal guitars. “Sea” is a standout track on the CD, as is “Introspection,” a song that lives up to its name with its intricate piano parts.
The musicianship on Bushwhack is top-notch, yet the players keep it restrained for most of the CD – surprising for this type of music. While most of the tracks function just fine without vocals, some of them could use them. It makes for a CD that is best listened to in the background while you are doing something else. It’s not a knock against the songs – it’s just harder for an instrumental album to hold a listener’s interest.
The band’s talent level at such a young age is astounding (One member is attending the Berklee College of Music) and they will only get better as they grow as musicians. In an age where many guitarists struggle to play three chords, Bushwhack is a refreshing change.
The album is available for purchase online at the band's website.