Return of the big music. Chummy out of the Waterboys was always banging on about 'the big music' - I'd fondly imagined the equivalent of some multi-thousand tonne steam-shovel or submarine, or perhaps a regional distribution hub for some midwestern plant maintenance organisation. Then I heard his whiney wee voice and was sorely disappointed. He sounded like a particularly annoying fellow that a friend had the misfortune to share a house with some years ago., which is slated for a September 2002 release.
Anyway. Mikey Dust/DUST/D.U.S.T. doesn't have that problem. Good voice for reaching the punters in rows Z and beyond when they get around to touring enormodromes. (In whatever post-DUST configuration they may take on the road, if net-rumours are to believed.) Damn good sound all around for that sort of stadium malarkey, as I'm sure I've made mention of before(*).
Here we find nine tracks, one of which is an intro in the lone-bloke-on-piano style and two others being remixes. The intro, I fear, sits squarely between Von Eldritch's 1959 and Spinal Tap's (Or Nigel Tuffnel at least) Lick My Love Pump. Probably not the comparison that anyone would have expected, but if these people will give CDs to post-punk gimmers with axes to grind, they shouldn't be surprised at what might happen.
Moving quickly in a forward direction across the surface of the CD, pausing only to inspect the inside of the cover and consider that it looks like the sort of wallpaper that Oscar Wilde would have chosen had he suffered a sudden and unexpected taste-bypass, we find that the band have managed to produce a set of songs that sound like cohesive wholes, rather than the pyrotechnics of the previous CD. Obviously, pyrotechnics are a good thing, but only when they sound like a band working together rather than a surly mob of musicians setting about one another in the studio.
So really it all sounds very rock and roll indeed. Albeit not in the manner that anyone under the age of 23 (Or sad old buggers pretending - you know who you are. Take them ugly bloody sunglasses off and go listen to something more fitting for a gentleman of your years. And that goes double for you over there in the 'ironic' AC/DC shirt.) would even begin to understand. The drums don't sound like biscuit tins and Mikey doesn't look like someone hit him in the face with a shovel like blokey from Nickelback. (Or whoever. As if I'd know.)
I probably used the phrase 'stadium tech-rock' the last time I had anything to do with DUST, and this EP doesn't much change my mind. It's all good stuff, mind. My Favourite Sin especially, probably because it charges gleefully into 'odd skrank noises' territory and contains a distinctly non-western guitar solo.
The remixes live on the tail end and prove quite successfully that you can't bolt industrial-techno style 'BamBamBam' beats onto organic rock & roll without a good chance of it going Horribly Wrong. The canonical example is the Apollo 440 cover of Don't Fear the Reaper - the entire point of that song is that triplet (I think) guitar riff. Quantising that down to 16th notes renders it four-square and dull. Much the same thing happens here - no bugger would dance to it in a club, so what's the point?
(*) In Hirez's previous review of D.U.S.T.'s From the Sublime to the Obscene in Legends #119.
Post: Wasp Factory Recordings, 65-67 High St., Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1DU, United Kingdom