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Luke Buda: Special Surprise

Max Walker



The man responsible for this at times funky, warped, ironic and ultimately heartfelt album is Luke Buda, one half of Phoenix Foundation’s main songwriting duo. Anyone who has ever attended a Phoenix gig may remember the portly Polish-born bearded fellow engaging the audience with a mixture of razor sharp sarcasm and guitar god antics. This, is the essence of Buda: part comic, part frustrated Eddie Van Halen, but also able to sing and play some genuinely sweet music.
The cover art and title of his new album are dripping with that charismatic irony, but it all seems very mellow as the tinkling opener ‘Cosmic Danse’ begins. The title track sees the recruitment of Cassette’s Craig Terris on drums. His steady rhythms and harmonies are present all over the record. It seems Buda’s song writing has taken a turn into the domestic with many of the tracks describing the recent birth of his first son Moses and Buda’s partner Sarah Jane Parton lending vocals to first single ‘Sauerkraut Bossa’. The album is extremely varied but consistent. ‘Slav To The Rhythm’ features Sam Scott leading the vocals with Buda and Terris providing backing. The song starts as a jazzy strum-a-long but somehow morphs into a heavy metal thrash fest. As the album continues a much more introspective vibe descends, with the melancholic ‘Werewolf’ and ‘Dimiti’s Blues’ gently revealing the craft of Buda’s musicianship. The album features, as most Wellington side-projects do, a vast array of those beautiful and talented musical sluts that populate the Greater Cuba Street Area. I use the term ‘slut’ affectionately; it ain’t always a bad thing. The cast includes Rio Hempopo (Ex-Trinity Roots), and Luke Benge (The Inkling) among others.
The album is characteristic of The Phoenix Foundation’s sound but still utterly unique. Buda has created a record that remains most distinctively his own.