Monday, September 11, 2017

Dust of Days - Analog Mind Bender (2017)

Written by William Elgin, posted by blog admin

Dust of Days is an romping alternative rock act hailing from the New Jersey area first formed in 2009 and featuring the talents of songwriter and drummer Frank Lettieri Jr. over the course of three releases. The third release and second full length album Analog Mind Bender has been four years in the making, but there’s never any sense listening to the  twelve songs that they’ve been unduly overworked and drained of their blood and marrow. The performances have a remarkably natural and even live sound – the level of intimacy they achieve, for a rock band, is nothing short of exceptional. These are songs that lunge straight for the heart of human experiences and never attempt to cheat or shortcut the listener – they fully develop their ideas, package everything inside of strong production, and present a product that never dares pandering to its target audience. Some listeners might find that twelve songs are perhaps a song or two too many, but a lot more are going to find this a perfectly measured rock album for the times.

They open with the title song. It has a nicely striding riff, a dense musical attack, and their own distinctive take on the genre blending elements of classic rock with a more modern approach. They clearly show themselves capable of gritty lyricism that only a few bands of this ilk can muster and this blending of the current and retro has a combustible spark. “Aurora” is cut from the same rugged mold as the opener but there’s a much more intensely claustrophobic feel about this track than we experienced during the first song and the variations of vocal delivery are equally notable. “Heavy” is propelled by a bulldozer central riff and the band is wise to stick to it for the majority of the song, only switching gears for a few passages with tremendous effect. The focus here is undeniable. Dust of Days kicks off “Little Angel” with some methodical, less than ethereal riffing and the the song settles into a moody, spartan guitar driven groove during the verses. This is one of the album’s better songs thanks to the exceptional sharp dynamic sense the band presents for listeners.

“The Circus” opens with sledgehammer bass and drums and boomerangs from that into a languid, guitar heavy march. There are some other notable transitions in this unhinged barrage of staccato rhythm section grooving, massive guitar workouts taken at a glacial pace, and some swaths of clich├ęd blues changes tossed in quite by design. This may not initially seem like it, but “The Circus” may vary well be one of the best songs on this release. “Death Vibrations” is a two fisted post-punk rocker that comes out set to kill and crackles with energy throughout. Dust of Days takes a decidedly different turn with the track “The Shore” and builds this song around violin, piano, voice, and nothing more. It results in the band achieving a much different sort of intimacy here than they do at other points throughout the release. “Ghosts” is a remarkable and risky finale, but it works. The song is essentially two very different musical tracks linked by subject matter and theme and even features a significant interlude between the two halves. The first half is acoustic-based while the second takes an even darker turn and houses the near husted, glowering vocal in dark, light industrial electronics. Analog Mind Bender is quite a musical journey and the time Dust of Days devoted to getting this right has paid off with one of the year’s most rewarding rock album

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