Published Apr 05, 2018If Holy Fuck are a noisy, junk-shop approximation of funk, then Dusted are the soul equivalent. What started back in 2012 as a low-stakes project for the band's Brian Borcherdt and producer Leon Taheny on their loose, underrated debut, Total Dust, has evolved into a more coherent sound that captures Borcherdt's heretofore-unheralded skill as a songwriter.
Working with wife Anna Edwards, Anna Ruddick and Wintersleep drummer Loel Campbell, Blackout Summer was recorded in fits and starts around Borcherdt's busy schedule. Yet it retains the coherence and intimacy that marked Total Dust; muffled guitars, ambient noise and Borcherdt's high-pitched melodic croon remain the foundations. But this time the sound and the hooks are more focused.
That sense of control is most apparent in Borcherdt's use of dynamics, the way songs like album highlight "Dead Eyes" build from hushed whisper to emotional epiphany. It sounds simple on paper, but the forethought necessary is lacking in so many similarly minded (though far less talented) artists. It's the kind of music few would expect from one-half of a duo who once stirred the ire of the Conservative government. But that's part of Dusted's power: emotional nuance where it's least expected.
Intimate and soulful, Blackout Summer is a record few expected but many should check out. Let's hope it doesn't take another half-dozen years for its followup. (Royal Mountain Records/Polyvinyl)