Album Review: TUSKS - 'Dissolve'

We give TUSKS monumental debut album, 'Dissolve' a spin prior to its release on 13th October. 

Album opener 'For You' reaches out with icy tendrils as glacial, minimalist production casts a wintery chill over the piece.  TUSKS vocal rains down with the pureness of falling snow, but despite its frosty introduction, there's no hostility as the track builds in subtly cinematic layers, echoing an emotive, otherworldly ambience which sets the precedence for what is to come.  

Subdued in its intro 'False' allows TUSKS' quiet vocal to evoke calmness before the track builds in intensity. Atmospheric, chugging drum rhythm and reverb-drenched guitar work sees the track writhing with authentic emotion.

‘Last’ is a deeply dizzying and immersive journey into a distorted  soundscape “it’s the feistiest track on the album. It was a bit of a fuck you to a person at the time who I'd invested loads of energy and time into who'd messed me around."

Title track/ lead singer  'Dissolve' also feels a little disorientating and is arguably the most downtrodden grungy track on the album, even when it takes flight with an ethereal beauty that seems too good to be true.

'Toronto' is the first song that introduced us as a blog to TUSKS. This is a track throws its listener into an almighty thunderstorm, soaking them to the very skin, yet somehow feeling thankful for it.

Then there's tracks like 'Paris' that burn with the fierce fire of one singular candle in the dark. TUSKS steps away form lyric-led narrative for the second half of the song and this is where we see exactly how powerful the soundscapes she has built can be. When they say so much without saying a single world. 

The album closes with an impromptu yet superb cover of Foals' 'London Thunder' - "I never planned for this to go on the album, but we had a spare half an hour at the end of a recording session at Lightship so we decided to just try out a live take. Luckily we got it in one and it felt right to finish the album with it."

Moving from track to track, one thing is very clear; 'Dissolve' is a 10-track album that finds freedom in vulnerability. Crawling with emotion and experimentation, TUSKS has traversed the murkiest depths of human emotion and sonic influences to create an album that is both light and dark, impure and pure, perfect and imperfect. Versatile, yet intensely relatable. Intricate and thoughtful  'Dissolve' is a startling album of contradictions. Epic in proportion.  Dramatically beautiful. Extremely hard to dismiss. 

Words of Karla Harris
Co-produced by Brett Cox, 'Dissolve' is out this Friday, (13th October) via One Little Indian and is available for pre-order, here.