Much like Fort Wayne's own Strut Train, Buck Enterprises began as a ska band that managed to evolve into a horn-enriched hard rock band once the ska fad faded. Business as Usual is the band's second major-release album and finds the band continuing to improve on its clean, upbeat sound. The band is comprised of six lads from Farmington Hills, Michigan, just a bit west of Detroit, the usual four piece with a trombone and trumpet thrown in at no extra cost. The band's ska past is evident but is nicely incorporated into a post-ska sound where the horns emphasize aspects of the song instead of dominating them.
The album rips open with "All I Need". To say this song has high-energy is an understatement as the music springs out of the digital grooves and runs down your ear canals. The infectious melody is augmented by some super fuzzy guitars and bright jazzy horns that pack just the right amount of punch. "When I Get Home" is another solid song driven by the excellent riffs of the guitarist identified only as "Shawn" who practically dominates the album. Their cover of the Beatles "Got To Get You Into My Life" is dead on, although pretty straight-forward. "Silent Ruin", a song about being let down by a friend, is a power pop post-modern cruise full of creative fuzzy guitar and some nice vocal harmonies. Most of the songs on the album conform to the self described "high-octane rock music with horns" feel with horns on the chorus, the exception being the well-written last track, "Days Gone By", a quiet, low-key song about leaving the past behind. Overall, the lyrics are upbeat and positive, although they can be a bit pedantic at times. But since the focus of this band seems to be high school age, this probably won't be a problem. From the amount of energy that has been captured surprisingly well on this disc, I'd bet that Buck Enterprises is a great live band, knowing how to get a room of kids on their feet and moving. Hard-hitting, exhilarating, and just plain fun.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, May 2001.