A horrible hack



Year Released: 2019
Format: LP
Label: Muddguts
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Dec 31, 2019
2019, that was a year. If you had promised me on January 1st a Duster boxed set and a new album in exchange for a Boris Johnson government, I probably wouldn't have taken that deal but here we are anyway.

This album took me several spins to acquire a feel for. First of all I had to accept the artwork. Duster fully embrace their own aesthetic on Instagram but must have chortled at the eyebrows they were going to raise when they agreed on this one. Beyond that, I was tasked with dealing with a band that didn't immediately sound like Duster, perhaps leaning more towards some of the members' work with Helvetia. Given repeated plays though, this is 100% a Duster record and I apologise for not recognising this sooner. Multiple tracks capture the core Duster mood of being trapped on board the International Space Station as it hurtles through space on a direct collision course with the sun. The fuzz of the life support system, the drone of the engines, the bleeping and blooping of the navigational computer, pathway locked in, no going back now, astronauts in bubble helmets, hands splayed on the glass of the forward windows. Duster have achieved this in a different manner to the classic output of records like Stratosphere. Indeed, this is a substantially more mature album as you'd hope for given the twenty-ish year gap since their last output. As much as I love those old albums this new one has much more nuance and depth to it, which is probably why I narrowed my eyes initially, trying to figure out what Duster were up to, confused as to why they didn't sound like 20 something stoners now. Oh wait, that'd be because they are 40 something.

In a day and age where it is nigh on impossible to not make snap judgements about music given the incomprehensible volume of new releases, I may have given this 30 seconds on Spotify and moved on if it hadn't been by Duster. Instead I bought it on vinyl. And gave it repeat listens until it made so much more sense. This is an excellent album. An excellent Duster album.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

Share this: