What’s scary about this album is that I can devote three paragraphs to just about any of the 10 songs on it. Heck, most of them deserve their own column. Not enough music really gets the gears turning nowadays; Tusks nearly stripped mine.
“Blanket, You’re My Favorite Jackson” pulls off more than a minute of drenching feedback, the best I’ve heard since Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born. “My Electric Pants Have Caught on Fire” pairs the very lyrical Chris Boivin’s drums with a rhythmic guitar run in lock-step, the instruments exchanging roles. “Naked Brunch” is worthy and aware of its Burroughs legacy, like pop on bad drugs, leaving a strummed mandolin in the left channel while lyrics like a conversation provide a progressive chorus that leads “we won’t turn around” into “she won’t come around.”
All the while, we’re told, “I’m going faster.” On what? Benzedrine?
Producer Jack Murray, who worked the knobs on the wonderful Dominic and the Lucid disc last year, deserves credit for capturing this chaos in such a crystal clear bottle, though I might quibble with the mix, which often doesn’t give quite enough weight to the lead vocals. I’ll admit that some of the lyrics only became transparent after I read through them in the liner notes, with which I sometimes disagreed. Best of all here are the drums, with a snare that pops palpably and crisp cymbals, and the pairing of Nate Carll’s and Gervais’s guitars, which wander in and out of each other like old friends.
In “Tallahassee,” Cosades manage to use a grating guitar tone to create a distorted mirror image of classic rock, with a halting, off-time rhythm and staccato vocals in the verse. There is real pain in the chorus — “And it seems our time is up/If you swear that you don’t love me, let me go” — that’s doubled by a haunting coda. A creepy girl’s voice tells us of going to a “very special place” to get her wings and learn to fly.
“I will always care,” she says, but you can never believe her. There’s nothing but mocking in her voice.
With Cosades, it’s never quite as easy to tell. Can you believe them, or are they mocking everything you believe about the music that you love?
Tusks and a Moustache | Released by Cosades | May 26 | at the Big Easy, in Portland |
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Sam Pfeifle: firstname.lastname@example.org