One of the more unique albums currently in Buckethead’s impressive catalogue, Population Override is a mixture of blues/jazz/funk and even metal. Listening to any album by Buckethead is quite an experience as you never really know what you are going to get coming out of your speakers or in your headphones. I highly recommend when picking up a Buckethead album, don’t listen to any previews or read any reviews. That way you have no clue what you’re getting into and that makes listening to the album that much more fun. It was how I approached Population Override. I had heard Kaleidoscalp before this album and it was a trip hearing that album. I came up with the idea of picking another album of his pretty much at random. It pretty much worked out as hoped…I had literally no idea what I was about to hear, and therefore went in with an open mind. It was a great idea.
It’s pretty hard to classify Population Override into any one particular genre. Then again, for most Buckethead albums that is the case. He has albums that may lean towards heavy metal for example, but they usually include some allusions to another type of music. In this case, jazz is a heavy influence on this record, as it seems as if Buckethead took jazz and threw convention out the window and threw his own spin onto the style. This makes this album sound nothing like most jazz albums out there. Still it’s obvious, the connection is there.
It’s really one of the more interesting albums of his since it’s not just a bunch of riffs where he just plays as fast as possible to show off his skills without creating much of a song. He tends to do that on certain albums, and here it actually seems like her decided to write actual songs with a point to them. Sure many of the songs sound like an extended jam but they actually do sound like a song as opposed to a bunch of notes. In addition to guitar, Buckethead also plays bass on the album. He is competent as a bassist, but let’s be honest; does anyone listen to a Buckethead album for the bass playing?
As mentioned, Buckethead also uses elements of funk in the record. Actually it’s more than an element; the album is in some ways a funk album as well. That’s what makes it so great…it keeps you guessing. The high points on the album are probably Too Many Humans, almost nine minutes of blues influenced rock that shows just how talented this man is as a guitarist, and the last song … (the title) is literally a blues song and sadly it’s a minute and a half long. To me, I really wish it was a 5 minute song; I would have loved to see where he would have gone with it.
A great album by a great artist, Population Override is a record that more people need to hear. Any fan of the blues or jazz looking for a more rocking version of what they are used too would be wise to pick it up. A complete recommendation from me and there’s no real negatives on the album.