Alternative music reviews

At Dusk

Heights Jan 2005

I didn't give At Dusk a great review last time for the album The Summer of Promises Kept not because I thought it was a bad album but just that it wasn't my taste. I'm impressed by bands who still want me to hear their work even after such equivocation. The written preamble that came with the album was blistering in it's wit and wave of ideas - making me feel like the dullard I probably am.

There have always been some bands who are in the 'Alternative' category that just don't work for me. I think it's in part a reaction to growing up in the 70s and being forced to listen to progressive rock (Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Mahavishnu Orchestra) because there was nothing else around and that's what my friends listened to. I would go home and give myself a blast of one of the early Stooges albums just to restore sanity. My problem with At Dusk is they are just too much for me - too many notes, too complicated chord structures, too many words in too short a time. I can hear similarities with one band in particular BUT I can't think of the name of the band! Perhaps I should just mention Slint, and Bob Mould for tenuous similarities.

I have a slight problem with music that is so complex, inventive, accomplished in that putting vocals over the top is very difficult because it's not made for melody. Beyond that, the lyrics are great - mostly personal, real, precise, and expressing universal experience. It's this that put At Dusk firmly in the Alternative camp and keeps them out of the Math Rock area (it that's what it's called). Act of Violence is a stunning song lyrically (and musically this one also works for me).

I'm hoping someone will read this and realise that At Dusk are just the sort of band they would like and check them out. They probably come up with more interesting ideas musically in one song than most bands do for an album. There are MP3s of the tracks from this recording on the website so there's no excuse for not following up any interest.

The Summer Of Promises Kept Dec 2003

I'm impressed that they even know the name Colin Blunstone they obviously have a good grounding in musical history and an eclectic collection of influences. They have some of the cleverness of Pavement and a lot more besides. It's difficult for me to get a handle on this at times. The music is very intricate and clever (they have taken no notice of the rule 'any more than two chords is showing off'.) The musicianship is excellent. It reminds me a bit of how Soft Machine were in the 70s full of ideas, intricate rhythms and melodies but for me based on jazz and I never felt the gut-wrenching surge of excitement that a basic rock n roll band like Alice Cooper or The Stooges could evoke. Overall, I would say admirable, and they will appeal greatly to an audience that appreciates the intricate control of shifting musical allegories and melodies. Talented bastards for sure, but not really in my area.

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