Now that R.E.M. is defunct, former guitarist Peter Buck has got to do something with his time. So why not reconnect with Tuatara, the instrumental outfit with which he's collaborated since the group formed in 1996. Produced by drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Walking Papers) and mixed by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden), this is the band's first release in six years. And it's a good one. The group, which also features Luna bassist Justin Harwood and Critters Buggin' saxophonist Skerik is in fine form here. The album commences with "Calling the Spirits," a song that begins with something that sounds like a revving engine. The music gets more accessible as things go one. With its woozy saxophone riff, "Ghosts of the City" really swings. And "Street Walkin'" sounds like belongs in an old Blaxploitation flick. Even when Buck was still playing with R.E.M., he loved to jump in the van and travel to small clubs across the country with these guys. Let's hope this album rekindles that relationship and the band takes the show on the road. — Jeff Niesel
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