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Contemporary Movement
Up Records

Duster, two (occasionally three) mystery boys from San Jose, California, make music for people who need feel-music. At their most droning times, Duster evokes imagery of the Joy Division and The Durutti Column, and mixes in a bit of the Codeine ethic. Taking that drone to a new level and mixing in a bit of the emo-core finesse creates the trademark, genre-busting Duster sound. Multi-instrumentalists Ewing Clay Parton and Canaan Dove Amber, owners and operators of the infamous Low Earth Orbit recording studio, once again prove mastery of their effects pedals and aural abilities.

"Get The Dutch" opens the album with a haunting tremolo organ sound, shaping a song in a gradual manner with additional instruments. The disparate guitars and battling echoes layer nicely over the beating tom-toms. When vocals arrive, they are welcomed in as an instrument, and create the final piece of the music. In "Operations," Duster brings the slow and low emo sound to a new beauty. Low would be proud of their influence on music such as this. "Diamond" is a treasure to listen to, with a fantastic chorus built into a song resplendent with dreariness. The words are hard to make out, but its obvious here that this track is written for a girl. A past girl. Dueling vocal lines and dissonances are the order of the day in the quick shot "Me And The Birds." "Travelogue" relies on the delays and timing beauty that has been rarely seen since the high days of the Durutti Column. Duster tackles rhythmic euphoria with a vengeance and creates a masterpiece of beauty and sonic brevity. Old ghosts come to haunt the ears in "The Phantom Facing Me," a very simple piece of music, full of emotional contexts and repetitive scaling. "Cooking" takes the ear into the realms of droning beauty once again, relying solely on instrumentation for its mood, with only a hint of vocals for texture. The song passes before one has a chance to fully understand what was happening. Emo at itís finest is revealed in "Unrecovery," with a very noticeable Flaming Lips sounding vocal line. With the most noticeable vocal tracks on the album, "The Breakup Suite" proclaims those feelings universal to humanity, and especially rock music. "I wish I was a little bit smarter/can I be her true love?/and a circuit in your lullaby/a conferencing enemy." The fadeout seems to come early, leaving the song with an unfinished feeling. "Everything You See (Is Your Own)" lays back even more, and reveals an air of certain introspection and pain. It is tied closely with the strains of "Now Itís Coming Back," a song that feels like an old friend come to visit at just the right time. Wrapping up the record is "Auto-mobile," possibly the most Codeine-esque song on the record, and certainly one of the slowest. It is a fitting end to a most rare and mesmerizing musical experience.

Duster has followed their two previous releases (1998ís Stratosphere and 1999ís mini album "1975") with a beautiful album full of the promise of droning chords and what emo could have been, had it not been corrupted by the industry. Fans of older bands such as the Durutti Column, and of more modern music, such as that of Low, and the Flaming Lipsí Soft Bulletin, will surely find something to please their ears on this record. The music passes quickly, much more quickly than seems possible, and the vocals never seem to play a major role. Despite all of that, Duster seem to have a firm grasp on their abilities as songwriters and musicians. This is not music for parties, and should be taken in small doses, never for more than three days at a time.

ĖDavid DeVoe

Track Listing:

  1. Get The Dutch
  2. Operations
  3. Diamond
  4. Me And The Birds
  5. Travelogue
  6. The Phantom Facing Me
  7. Cooking
  8. Unrecovery
  9. The Breakup Suite
  10. Everything You See (Is Your Own)
  11. Now Itís Coming Back
  12. Auto-mobile

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