Duster - Duster
Dec 13, 2019 (updated Dec 13, 2019)
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I woke up this past Friday feeling an immense sadness, but it didn't pertain to me either. I figured whatever it was, it had to be in the news. I'm always hesitant to look though. Despite the news of America's impeachment process, mass shootings, detainment camps, financial inequality hitting an all time high and our climate crisis hitting an all time low, among many other things, many might still be able to "manage" in light of this. However, the definitive blow has to come from the news itself. Factuality has never been so subjective and the new challenge of the constant influx of information is something no generation has had to face before. Leaving to confusion, which, can lead to anything at this point. Anger, violence, depression, toxic optimism, ect. I think it's fair to say I'm not the only one who'd like to distance themselves from reality. The media may fixate it's attention on a small, more radical spectrum, but I'd argue a large sum, from all political fronts, would just rather look away.

Most music has a message to say, or, it at least represents something. It's always fun to look back on pop culture and underground scenes long gone to see what of mind the people of the era were in. It's way too early to predict if Duster's self titled comeback will be a defining part in the final chapter of the decade, but there isn't a doubt in my mind that future, young listeners (much like you or me) will listen to this and get the basic idea of us and maybe a hint of curiosity too. Maybe an incentive to read about what's been going on.

Despite their now 18 years of studio silence, Duster couldn't have been more timely with their arrival. The small, festering surge of shoegaze that made it's own comeback this decade is starting to come full circle with ample reason for it's distortion. Hushed and distanced vocals are constantly swamped in an overbearing and injurious, yet gentle repertoire of guitars with simple and quick subtleties scattered around. Creating a sort of urban and cathartic atmosphere in it's wake. While "I'm Lost" and "Go Back" deserve accolades for how effective they are in their roles of intractable dread, "Hoya Paranoia" may just be the best of the bunch. It goes against the album's grain and turns up the vocals a notch and adds some acoustics for a false sense of healing in the face of anxiousness. It's welcomed, as Duster can be a bit of a slog to sit through, despite that no song really falters here. At best, it's just on first initial listen, but primarily in the first half of the record at worst. If you're burned out from reverb drenched side of indie or the shoegaze resurgence, or just need something with a bit more direction, this may not be for you. But hey, you gotta stir the pot every once in awhile, right?

It's also not too unfamiliar either. It's distinctly Duster, yes, but a lot has advanced since the band initially went cold. Maybe more specifically, since Stratosphere came out in good ol' 98'. Their merits aren't as special as they once were. Most notably, bands like Wilco and The Microphones picked up the torch and left their own residual mark with their own traits and perspective. But nevertheless, this is still a fulfilling listen in spite of their personal obstacles. I doubt the band is here to "compete" anyways. Also, anyone who enjoyed American Football's recent outing this year may or may not draw some comparisons. It's important to note though that, while American Football soared this year with emo melodrama, Duster prefers to stay grounded with it's ongoing surroundings. Perhaps, it's comfortable in that regard. Rumor has it that Duster read an article on how dangerous it is to fly during this time of the year, but I digress...
...
...
...*sigh* No. Nothing is new really.

Sensible, dark and discontent. Welcome back, Duster.
3 Comments
Dec 14, 2019
GAVIN GAVIN GAVIN WOAH
Dec 14, 2019
oh my gosh Gavin
Dec 14, 2019
review of the year
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