Buke and Gase certainly don’t lack novelty, but they also don’t sit back and let that novelty do their work for them. The New York duo’s instruments are self-styled and handmade — the “buke,” a modified and electrified baritone ukulele, and the “gase,” a hybrid of guitar and bass — but their shared approach to sound and song are unusual enough to make a lasting impression on its own. “Houdini Crush” introduces a lurching, leering attack informed by punk agitation and math-rock complexity, with the searching voice of Arone Dyer careening strangely, yet always melodically, over top.
Aron Sanchez supplies heavy layers of texture with the gase, while the two share percussive duties with an arsenal of foot-actived drums and tambourine-like shakers (the “toe-bourine,” for example). It all has a homespun feel to it, like something sourced from an art-school workshop by two friends taking a break from a big sculpture project and just playing around. But there’s an accomplished sense of songcraft at work too, with highlights (“In the Company of Fish,” “Twisting the Lasso of Truth”) that navigate strange paths to new, unimagined forms.