Clarence Bucacro: Walls Of The World
Walls Of The World
(Twenty Twenty Records)
The fifth album by Clarence Bucaro is an interesting Frankenstein’s monster of a record. Working with a trio of disparate collaborators, including Marc Anthony Thompson – known to the rest of the world as Chocolate Genius – and Hector Castillo, a production lifer who has worked with everyone from Philip Glass to John Popper, Bucaro has stitched together a suite of songs from various parts of his mental curiosities.
You get sweet-natured odes to “watching waves roll” and “the Pacific sun hanging like a dream” (“Malibu”) placed roughly next to the hard anti-conflict statements of “Two Men Down” (a track dedicated to the lives of a pair of photojournalists killed in Libya in 2011) and “Child Of War” (“Why does a child strap on a bomb/tell me why does a child pick up a gun”). It’s not the most unusual of juxtapositions but can be a jarring one here.
The connecting thread is Bucaro’s fine vocals that rest comfortably in a mid range that combines the gruffness of John Hiatt with the laidback swing of Jimmy Buffett. And his musical cohorts follow a similar tack with rumbling blues that never feels forced and a restrained pop tone that doesn’t shove Bucaro’s more polemical messages down your throat.
The issue is that we’ve already heard so much of Bucaro’s romantic spirit over the course of four albums. It would be interesting to hear him go all in on an album of politico-pop. The combined statement could be an especially affecting one. As it is, we only get slivers of that here; enough to arouse our appetite but to leave us hungry for more.