Tusks – Dissolve

Drawing from a number of influences, Tusks' debut album is imperfect, but that's what debuts are all about

Album Review by Pete Wild | 09 Oct 2017
  • Tusks – Dissolve
Album title: Dissolve
Artist: Tusks
Label: One Little Indian
Release date: 13 Oct

You think Beth Gibbons is a Goddess? You think she’s as influential as Paul Weller, but underestimated, as a lot of female performers tend to be? You like Lamb, you like their dissonance, their grooves, the noise they make? You like London Grammar? Only you wish they wouldn’t be so glacial and distant – you’d like them to get their hands dirty sometimes? Maybe reach into that abstract space attained by the Cocteau Twins and so few others? Maybe throw in some of that rich goth LCD Soundsystem are ploughing on American Dream? If that sounds good to you, you’ll want to be all over Tusk’s debut, Dissolve

It’s a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, though. Dissolve kicks off with For You and it’s by-the-book London Grammar (ambient wall of soft noise, plangent melancholy vocal, perfect for that point in the dinner party when you want people to go home). But then we get False, Last, and Dissolve, and Tusks make enough of a racket to dispel copyist rumours. The band – which is basically Emily Underhill and capable support – are cut from a different cloth.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t times when Underhill veers too far into London Grammar territory (1807, we’re looking at you). We get that they’re popular, they shift units, etc, but Tusks have enough about them to push themselves to be more resolute within a song or two (check out the last minute and a half of Paris, and also Toronto, which is a storm of a song). 

It’s imperfect to be sure but that’s what debuts are all about. This is potential incarnate. Tusks just need to push themselves harder, stop trying to look so pretty in the mirror, mess around with a bit more broken glass. Album two might well be a doozy.

Listen to: False, Last, Dissolve