Sound — 9
Bushwhack's self-titled release has all the makings of an album that can revolutionize rock music. The instrumental tracks round up galley's of prog rock, jazz rhythms, classic piano, orchestral tones, and industrial metal cacophonies. The band creates such a hybrid of sounds and styles that it's like listening to a melodic fusion of Thrice's hardcore with Spyro Gyra's post-bop and the orchestral trimmings of the Boston Pops Orchestra. The music is trippy like Pink Floyd, cyber-pitched like Tangerine Dream, and fleshy like Porcupine Tree. The band's chord movements have electric circuits and acoustic veins that abduct, scrunch up and curve with a silky, tangible feel through the band's improvisations. The complementing phrases of Menace flex funky-jazz bass lines, flinching metal rock riffs and string arrangements that hover as the mid-eastern vibrations give the tune an enchanting ambience. It seems like a lot is going on in these tracks, but the band members hit the listener with one composite at a time as they harmoniously seam the pieces together so there is clarity in the instruments sound. Bushwhack revolutionizes music because they are not afraid to wire different styles of music like jazz with rock or weld classic and orchestral instruments with metal. The dark oblique cuts in the industrial metal crunching of Mariachi Massacre have a blade like Candlemass. The metal-gripped contortions act as a prelude to the more melodic verses that follow. The ambient frequencies of Introspection sandwich acoustic with electric instruments dimpled by cyber-definition effects. The slits of guitar inflections push through the field of leafy acoustics making sharp spikes along the melody. The ethereal feel of Sea Of Tranquility has plush strings, cindering guitars and soft billowing piano rolls that come together to form layers of harmony. There are probably a few bands in the world that can bring together these contrasting styles and create such a melodic flow, and Bushwhack does it very effectively.
Lyrics — 9
None of the tracks have lyrics but the music has a melodic phrasing which creates space for lyrics to be set like in Sea Of Tranquility. Similarly to the attraction of Russian Circles instrumentals, Bushwhack's songs don't need to have lyrics to make a strong impression on the listener, but similarly to artists like the UK's Morcheeba and Paul Oakenfold who use guest vocalists on their compositions, Bushwhack's keyboardist Frank Sacramone tells Cdbaby.com, where the band's album is being sold, that the band is not completely against the idea of recording vocals on some of their tracks. The band kind of lives by the concept that everyone has equal power, an equal say in the band, and we don't want a singer coming in and taking over, but sure, I can see a situation where certain sections of the songs could use vocals. But even so, it wouldn't be a vocally based band. We don't want to have to sacrifice the good instrumental parts we bring to the table. In September 2007, Bushwhack posted a blog on their myspace page asking for vocalists to get in touch with them for possible recordings.
Overall Impression — 9
Bushwhack likes their songs to have an overall melodic rock pitch through the phrases of experimentation and improvisation. Their notes have a tangible feel like they have meat on them. The band's synthesis of different music styles takes you by surprise but their handling of them is very expert. Band members Jamie van Dyck - guitar, Brandon Green - bass, Frank Sacramone - keyboards, and Ben Shanbrom - drums are based in New Haven, Connecticut and all four of them are attending college. Van Dyck goes to Yale, Green is matriculated at Northeastern University, Sacramone is attending Berklee College of Music, and Shanbrom is at Wheaton College. Their self-titled album is produced by Jeff Cannata who is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in his own right. Cannata's sensibilities for melodic hard rock seems to coincide with the members of Bushwhack on the band's self-titled album, and the collaboration has certainly made Bushwhack's album one that is too good to overlook.