Thursday, November 29, 2007

Album: Tusk - The Resisting Dreamer

Artist: Tusk
Album: The Resisting Dreamer
Label: Hydrahead Records
Year: 2007

01. The Everlasting Taste of Disguise
02. Cold Twisted Aisle
03. Life's Denial
04. The Lewdness and Frenzy of Surrender

This is the latest CD from Tusk, which includes three members of Pelican (guitarist Trevor de Brauw, bassist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec and drummer Larry Herwig) along with new co-vocalists Evan Patterson (Breather Resist) and Toby Driver (Kayo Dot).

The Resisting Dreamer finds Tusk moving away from the "avant-grind" of their last album into a little different, but still very unique territory. It's one of those albums that's hard to describe, a diverse and eclectic mix of genres that includes noise, doom, space rock, stoner metal and a few others. The music ranges from slow, simple dirges to fast, complex songs to unusual and experimental tracks that are sometimes noisy and dissonant, other times subdued and groovy.

The album is one long song divided into 4 tracks, and the last one clocks in at 16 minutes and is all instrumental. The different genres, styles and moods described above are all packed into a relatively short album. The Resisting Dreamer is an avant-garde CD that is aggressive, complex, and always interesting.

Recorded and mixed by Tusk alumn Greg Norman at Electrical Audio studios (during Pelican's "Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw" sessions from midnight to five am) and Studio Greg Studios II, the album has a sound and style unlike anything they have attempted in the past. Occasionally groove-laden, occasionally spastic, and often unnerving, "The Resisting Dreamer" is the sound of a band that has absolutely no interest in proving anything to anyone.

Avant, progged out, psych’, helicopter grind -- Tusk’s aural barrage has been categorized with some random appellations. Truth of the matter is, the more out-there the genre description, the more obvious this fact: It’s fucking out there. Amidst surgically precise blasts, frenzied vocals and fret board savagery to make devout fans of all matters of harshness raise a horned-hand salute, you’ll find a willingness to experiment: sitar, slide guitar, mandolin, swirling keyboard passages.

Basically, they’re to bedrooms in Chicago suburbs what Lightning Bolt and Arab on Radar are to Providence, R.I. Get it? No? Try this on for size: It’s Discordance Axis by way of Yes’ "Close to the Edge" or a German-schooled Acme maelstrom played by fans of This Heat and Don Caballero. And a singer who professes his lyrical "chaos bordering on collapse" owes a debt of gratitude to Tom Waits, though he sounds more like a strangled banshee or the Germs’ Darby Crash.
Tusk formed in the summer of ’98. In 2001 they unleashed their first record, a split with Hewhocorrupts, which apparently "sold well in Japan" and garnered them the honor of being described by several German distros as "completely crazy." With Black Man, White Man, Dead Man, they toured in summer ‘01, supporting said record -- impairing hearing and imposing structural damage in Midwest and East Coast basements.

Armed with a new singer -- sailor by day, inconspicuous madman by night -- Tusk recorded this first full length (9 songs) in March 2002 with Greg Norman, who engineers at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio. The CD is on Hewhocorrupts Inc.; the vinyl is soon to come from elsewhere. Tusk toured the Midwest and West Coast last summer with Hewhocorrupts and La Mantra De Fhiqria, both respected Chicago luminaries, in their respective frenzied metal and screamo niches.

Live in your town? Expect 15 minutes of pent-up nervous tension let loose by way of broken mikes, Lombardo fills, tossed monitors, flailing mike stands aimed at the bass player’s knees, coyote yelps and shit fits.

Current members are in Pelican (Hydra Head Records) and previously did time in Hinckley, Disembodied and Long Live Nothing.

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