PREVIEW: Tusk @ Urban Outfitters
By Jon Gibson on September 13, 2012 in Music
If you’ve encountered Tusk in some realm of the internet or at a gig in the region, you may already have some preconception about them. But new single Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom/Subtle Fun, set to be released at the end of August may make you challenge that notion.
For the first few years of Tusk’s initiation, I always associated them with a sombre jazzy/indie sound which I was really hooked on. However, in months of late, this affiliation has slightly lessened off in favour of a heavier, more sincere sound. “Our dynamic is quite different now – we aren’t quite as loud as we once were! Sam also brings a lot of energy to the band and is more involved in the writing process which is never a bad thing either.” Said bassist Andy Cutts.
To witness this evolution from a once delicate and collected outfit to a raunchier act who seem to be ‘going for it’ more, listen to Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom. The A-side of the single is rich with well thought-out chord progressions and haunting hooks. There is a gradual inclination from a down-tempo, submissive first-half to a groovier second; amidst a sea of pessimistic minor chords is a Don Caballero-esque guitar riff, which parts the waves for the pacier section, resonating the band’s older style of quick, stabby riffs.
A gloomy keyboard phrase makes up part of the verse, which for some reason reminds me of the ghosts from Mario Kart; this is a new element of instrumentation which was apparently precipitated by the acquisition of a MacBook and MIDI keyboard. I asked the fingers behind the chords, Jonathan Evans, about this. “Using stuff like electronic drums and MIDI keys encourages us to be a bit more experimental and it keeps us on our toes. I use a lot of effects pedals too, and I think that has a pretty direct impact on the band’s sound.” This is definitely prevalent in their back catalogue.
However, Tusk have not completely banished the aforementioned innocent delicacy from their sound, and the B-side is good evidence of this. Although Subtle Fun initially appeals to me more, as a result of an interesting polyrhythmic relationship between drums and bass, Boy Bruce is the track which I find myself replaying more due to the ground that the track covers.
Tusk release Boy Bruce, The Mighty Aton/Subtle Fun at the end of August. The band play Urban Outfitters in Newcastle on Saturday 15th September and The Cluny, Newcastle on Friday 12th October. Image courtesy of David Wala
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