It’s almost a rite of passage for me to listen to and enjoy Duster being from Seattle. Much like my experiences in NYC, I have encountered a significant population of listeners; an esoteric group of grungy people that all worship the beloved Duster. Although my speech suggests otherwise, this is not to my dismay at all, as I am a big fan of Duster also. Often in reviews I will talk about the familiarity of an album and maybe to the relation of characters that listen to Duster can relate to the grungy and low fidelity centric sounds that make Duster an easy listen. This isn’t to put down their depth as musicians, as there is a certain amount of raw grit that is captured, especially heavily in Duster. It is for this grit, that has developed since Stratosphere that has captured listeners like me to feel so greatly of their reunion. Perhaps Duster’s low fidelity, basement style recording sounds were a bit too late for the 90’s, but they are making a noteworthy appearance in the 21st century.
We start of the album with Copernicus Crater which reminds me very much of the Innerspeaker days of Tame Impala, which I miss so much. It probably reminds me of those days because of the lackadaisical high distortion guitar backed with a simple rhythm. This style is also presented in Ghoulish. It’s not the least bit conforming to the trends of today’s music, and for that reason, is slightly rebellious. Following that rebellious nature, we are greeted with some refreshing energy from Duster with songs like Chocolate and Mint, as well as Summer War, respectively. However, Duster didn’t forget its roots with songs like Lomo, that follow slower progressions and melodies. Sometimes it can be hard to accept change with an artist that you relate to for one reason, but the development shown by Duster is (imo) clearly for the better. Following some of the band members side projects, Helvetia and Eiafuawn, the collaboration as shown in Duster has almost created what I’d refer to as a “super album”. It’s clear to see the influences collaboration has brought the group and I’m excited to see what’s next for the promising revival of Duster. It is in this regard that I rate this album with high marks as it will most definitely be a continuous listen of mine.
In addition to my positive outlook on Duster, I recommend that listeners check out one of their side projects Eiafuawn which can be found on YouTube. There is some gold to be found within that album for serious indie nerds.
Eiafuawn-birds in the ground
TL;DR: For those who are into grungy, garage rock, with heavy riffs as well as soft singing styles I recommend this album. If you find yourself enjoying Helvetia, you’ll likely very much enjoy Duster’s newest album.
Recommended Listens: 1,3,4,10,11