Duster - Contemporary Movement
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Duster
Contemporary Movement
(UP)

If you've heard Duster's debut album Stratosphere or any of their other work, don't expect to hear any great departure in sound with this, their newest release. They're stil the lo-fi, jangling, slow core, semi-psychedelic band that we've all grown to know and like, but they have gotten better at what they do. Sure, things still sound like they're recorded on a boombox sometimes sitting in the middle of a living room, but it's a mood and the group certainly knows how to work it. It has fewer songs and is a bit shorter overall, but they'll again make you feel like your vision is just a bit gauzy and your head isn't quite screwed on straight.

The album starts out with "Get The Dutch" and just about the time that you think it's going to be spacey instrumental track with shards of guitars that sound like they've come from a wounded western film, some muted vocals creep in and drag you down a bit further. The track reminds me a bit of an old swirling track by the Cure from their Disintegration album (minus as much emphasis on the vocals), and in case you were wondering, that's definitely a good thing. After another dirging slow track, the group ups the tempo a bit with "Diamond" and although things don't get bouncy by any means, it's a nice break from the first couple slow tracks and the group again shows that they can rock a song with amplification just as well.

"Me And The Birds" only runs about a minute and a half long, but it feels like a sing-along by the standards of the group and the hazy vocals move with an almost nursery rhyme quality before the track ends and you hardly know what has happened. Right about the second half of the album, things get even more solid with tracks like the somewhat upbeat "Cooking" and the totally road-weary sounding title track of "Contemporary Movements." It's one of those slow tracks that somehow hits on all cylinders and actually make you feel physically tired while listening to it. Although the instrumentation is very simple and muted, and the vocals sound like they may be sung while in a half-asleep state, it's one of the best tracks on the disc by far and by the time it fades out, you feel like you've taken a mild narcotic.

The album doesn't end there, though, and the group closes things out with 3 very solid tracks, including the shimmering "Now It's Coming Back" and the drowsy album closer of "Auto-Mobile." Even though it came out in the summer, this is grey music best suited for a day spent inside while cold wind and snow swirls outside. It never gets too loud and although it's very deliberate and dreary pace may be frustrating for listeners wanting a bit more action in their music, Duster knows their strong points and does them well again.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00