Buck-O-Nine are back with their first new album in over 12 years! The last time they put out a full-length album (Sustain), everybody thought Bush was the worst president in the world (jokes on us, right?), the iPod was still going strong, a skinhead Britney Spears smashed a car with an umbrella and the Sopranos ended their show with a cliffhanger ending that cut to black. Thankfully, Buck-O-Nine didn’t fade to black and are back with a brand new album that contains 14 tracks!
I’ve been a fan of Buck-O-Nine since I got into ska in ‘95-96, and they released their best material from around then. I can’t decide on a favorite album from the band but it’s a toss up between Twenty-Eight Teeth and Libido. Although, Barfly is up there too. Their new album, Fundaymental, sounds like something from the early days but different in a way. The lineup has been intact for decades, so it’s pretty impressive they have kept the same lineup for that long. The opening track “Paint The Night Red” is a fun, raucous tune. Their first single “Top of the World” is a highlight for me, especially when the chorus kicks in. These new songs are just loud, ska punk music that will make the audience dance for one song and do a circle pit for another song. There’s a few songs that will make you sway and dance slowly too.
The title track “FunDayMental” is a slower, reggae style song but it’s still a cool track. Jon’s vocals seemed to have gotten deeper over the years, unless he’s trying out new things for certain tracks. He did release a solo alt-country album several years ago under his nickname Pebs so probably changing things up a bit. In 2017, BO9 released a song “Don’t Be Afraid” for Cleopatra Records for their Halloween compilation Punk Rock Halloween: Loud, Fast & Scary and that song was re-recorded for the new album. That’s another song that stands out in this album.
I also really liked the track “Yaya,” which wasn’t sung by Jon (not sure who) but had a reggae flair to it. I keep going back to that one to listen to. Two songs that they have re-recorded were two of their most popular songs: “Irish Drinking Song” and “My Town.” Even though you’ve heard the songs before, it’s still awesome to hear them updated a bit.
After all these years, it’s great the band is still together and rockin out. For me, it took me about 2 listens or so to really get into the new material and to see what stands out. The first 3 tracks were my favorite and I really liked the style of “Yaya” as well. Hearing these songs live should put a smile on fans faces, especially since the band finally has some new material. I wouldn’t know, the band hasn’t played New York area in over 2 decades it seems. Hopefully that will change with the release of this album. I think if you’re expecting something like Twenty-Eight Teeth you might be disappointed but I think fans should be happy with this album. I know I am.
Bottom Line: Buck-O-Nine’s first new album in 12 years, let’s hope the next one doesn’t take 12 years again!
Notable Tracks: Paint The Night Red, Top of the World, In My Room, Yaya, Don’t Be Afraid