By Brandon Deleon
Artist: Bür Gür
Album: Have You Lost Your Faith In God?
Label: New Los Angeles
Release Date: April 1st, 2016
Back with their first album since 2014’s Alligator Cheesecake, Los Angeles duo Bür Gür’s sophomore release Have You Lost Your Faith In God? is another testament to Corbin Clarke and Makan Negahban’s brand of electronic based psych-pop. All 14 tracks feature an ensemble of electronic drums, guitar, samples, synth-bass and often vocals often in harmony. Their songs have a skeletal structure that’s minimalistic and builds up slowly throughout every track. Bür Gür is unafraid to let their songs breathe and transform into long, instrumental and meditative pieces. Being 56 minutes long, this album gives the listener more than enough music to enjoy.
The electronic drums on the album sound like they’re influenced by reggae, dub and hip-hop. These influences create an interesting framework for the band to work around.There are often synthetic Latin percussion instruments in the mix, which help add to the calypso feel of the album.
The album is heavy on lead guitar, but it’s always a nice clean guitar. Whether it’s electric or acoustic, the guitar is always played very precisely in a flamenco style. Arpeggios are everywhere; the finger-plucked guitar makes sure every note in the chord is heard individually, creating a whimsical feel for the album. The lower register is comprised of sub-bass synths, synthetic bongos that also provide a sub-bass and occasionally a bass guitar.
Bür Gür’s dreaminess seems like an ode to fellow California natives The Beach Boys. Their dense lyrics and use of samples, noise and layered vocals definitely serve as a nod to Animal Collective. Most of the tracks end with some barrage of noise that smoothly transitions into the next song.
Some of my favorite songs on the album are “War Games,” “Roman,” “If I Was a Child” and “Neighbors.”
“War Games’” simple chorus that repeats “talk to me” was a memorable moment for me because of the sincerity in the vocal melody and vocal style.
“Roman” has a big change/kick-in at the one minute mark that makes for one of the most upbeat parts of the album.
“If I Was a Child” is one of my favorite tracks because of how loud the bass drum hits throughout the song. It’s also one of the few tracks that uses a bass guitar. Generally the instrumentation on this track is more standard with a lot of synths buzzing around in the background. Bür Gür does an excellent job of burying obscene noises into their music in a very controlled manner.
“Neighbors” is right after “If I Was a Child,” and its use of major seven guitar chords keeps the song sounding dreamy, while muffled electronic toms pulse constantly throughout. “Neighbors” also has a bassline that sounds like it’s straight off of an of Montreal record.
If you’re in need of new music that’s mildly psychedelic, and isn’t afraid of exploring strange territories via electronics, Bür Gür is a band for you and this album is a great introduction to their sound.