dust – et cetera, etc (Kanine Records)

dust – et cetera, etc (Kanine Records)

The first thing to say about dust‘s debut EP is that it’s value for money. Granted there are short intro and outro tracks on et cetera, etc but there are still six more songs to enjoy. The Australian band formed during the pandemic of 2020 and they recorded the EP in its entirety on guitarist-saxophonist Adam Ridgway’s family farm property in Edwardsville. The band expand on the recording environment:

Edwardsville offered a place of solitude in nature, of bringing people together. et cetera, etc as a title is to show all the different angles and styles we take on writing music while still sounding like us. To introduce ourselves as a band and our sound. Recording and living in the farmhouse all together made us comfortable and uninterrupted. We had no time restrictions and often were recording and revising late into the night. We’d play Twin Peaks cuts and Blade Runner scenes projected on the walls, contributing to the mood in the overall recording. want our music to make people excited and provoke thought and introspection. Listen and find out.”

‘Intro’ is a short gentle introduction to et cetera, etc. An answering machine message is layered over a calming soundscape including birdsong followed by a couple of recording messages that have been left. Then it’s full throttle into the first single from the EP ‘Gutter’. Nothing calming about this at all. Scuzzy guitar riffs and thrashing drums precede the vocals of guitarist vocalists Gabriel Stove and Justin Teale. ‘Gutter’ is thrilling from start to finish and it’s amusing that the EP opened with that ‘Intro‘ track. Lyrically the very first verse of ‘Gutter‘ sets the theme.

There’s nothing wrong with the secondary class/There’s nothing wrong with the middle class/There’s nothing wrong with lower class/The problems lie within the high high class.”

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Alternator‘ follows in a similar vein but the listener gets the first hearing of the untethered saxophone. The post-punk vibe has this thrilling additional layer. It creates the tension felt while waiting for roadside assistance in a broken-down car ten hours from home. This is not so much a soundscape but a noisescape, until the final third of the track when you can imagine the calm that descends when help is finally in sight. The saxophone then takes centre stage on ‘Interlude’. The Blade Runner inspiration is so clear here but it begins with what sounds like a helicopter whirling nearby. It’s music to lose yourself in.

By dust’s standards ‘Ward 52‘ is slightly calmer paced, please note I stated “slightly“. The instrumentation is given the platform here as it’s not always easy to hear the lyrics. Is it derogatory to call this rock post-punk? I suspect dust don’t care how it’s described, they just create for themselves, and thankfully for us too. The saxophone here perfectly exudes pain as befits the lyrics:

“I’m on dialysis, pick line to my neck
I see the blood flowing over my fucking chest
What a sight right in front of my eyes
But I’m on the valium high.”

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‘False Narrative‘ begins with a recorded voice message. The lyrics speak of the struggle of trying to fit in, of following others but finding it challenging. Being true to ourselves can be tough and the universal theme of the pressure of society to conform can have consequences if not recognised. Who wants to be “normal” anyway, whatever “normal” is? Life is about recognising these challenges and accepting the uniqueness within us.

Joy’ does exactly what it says on the tin. An uplifting mostly spoken vocal full of openness and honesty, perhaps dust’s version of a love song. It canters along at a pace like a train on the tracks, clattering forwards as we try to do in life.

“I want to be sad and I want to be sad with you
I enjoy the unattainable goal
I’d take someone I love to the Andes
Just so I wouldn’t have to explain it to them
We could experience it together
The greater that made itself.”

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Outro‘ closes out an outstanding debut EP by the Australian five-piece. A final message on the answering machine, checking in and saying all’s well.

dust head to the UK and Europe for various dates supporting Hockey Dad as well as playing The Great Escape in Brighton in May. For full details please check here.

dust debut EP et cetera, etc is out now on Kanine Records.
For more information on dust please check out their facebook and bandcamp.

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