The Yucky Duster gang takes familiar sounds and spins them into gold.
There’s a line in the Friends theme song (not very punk rock but bear with me) that goes, “If it isn’t even your day, your week, your month, or even your year.” Duster’s Lament, the new five-song EP from Brooklyn quartet Yucky Duster, starts with a similar sentiment: “I don’t mean to be a drag, I’m just having one of those years.” The upbeat jangle of a sitcom theme is a good place to start when approaching the Duster's unique kind of indie pop. This nineties-referencing sound is popular among like-minded DIY bands, but few are making #relatable rock songs that are also this catchy. Friends started with a basic premise and grew into a phenomenon, and Yucky Duster is similarly taking familiar sounds of indie rock, punk, and twee and spinning them into gold.
Since this is a band on Infinity Cat, the sound is pricklier than the average sitcom theme. But it’s also miles away from raucous music you might expect from the label who put out gnarly garage rockers like Jeff the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet. All of the punk elements of the Duster’s last album - speedy guitar lines, yells, simplistic chants - have been dialed back in favor of studio shimmer. In addition to the rock-solid melodies, some of the sonic quirks include chipmunk harmonies, rattles, kissing sounds, keyboard chimes. Duster's Laments is by no means fussy or polished, but it’s clear the band is progressing beyond the average basement jam. Each Duster penned one of the four following tacks, and the album showcases a powerhouse group of pop songwriters exploring a common thread of dissatisfaction and restlessness. “Elementary School Dropout” is a silly-on-the-surface slacker anthem with a heart of gold and a breakdown that’s worthy of a parade. “Duster’s Lament” features the overlapping vocal lines the band first explored on “Construction Man” but with twice the number of lyrics (“always dodging friends on subways”). “The Ropes," the EP’s centerpiece, is a song about grasping for ways to lift yourself out of the dumps and captures the ho-hum essence of a streak of bad luck. Just as Phoebe, Ross, and Rachel lean on each other, Duster’s Lament has each of the songwriters finding common ground in hopelessness, with tunes that beg to be put into syndication.
Listen to Yucky Duster on bandcamp.
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Mo is a writer who can be spotted at the gig dancing like a squid. Follow him on twitter @sadgayfriendx.