Words by Matt Yau @Matthew_Yau
A couple of years ago, Emily Underhill began her melodic journey under the moniker Tusks. She made her entry with a splash of ink (no seriously, it was a 4-track assortment of atmospheric pop songs called Ink) and that journey has culminated in the first major milestone; a full-length LP called Dissolve
We start the new leg with hushed undertones and icy textures before Emily pierces the tranquillity with a voice of liquid nitrogen that floats tantalisingly past. Rub your fingers through the textures and it’ll just glide round your fingers like vapour. It sets up an album full of patience and space not just for the sound to reverberate around with intrigue but also for thoughts to echo around in reflection.
And so it continues with ‘False’ which was previously released within a self-titled EP with its hushed vocals and reverb-laden guitar weaving around each other in a tussle as if representing two conflicting emotions as Emily croons “I don’t know you at all / I still believe in you”.
There appear to be a lot of influences at play on this album with lyrics and vocals that bare the heart like a Daughter record or spacious instrumentation akin to The xx. But my favourite echo is that of The Chromatics’ heavily 80s-influenced album Kill For Love. Tusks’ title track ‘Dissolve’ would feel right at home on the album and even has a video that colour matches the album art for Kill For Love.
The result is an album that unfolds with a panoramic perspective giving it cinematic qualities. It wouldn’t be surprising if this album turned out to be a soundtrack for a new neo-noir film.
The tracks aren’t immediately distinct from each other but that is more a testament to the fact that Dissolve has been crafted with a sonic theme much like a series of photographs that have had similar edits applied to all of them. It leaves you with an LP that has been designed for consistent consumption from start to finish; it’s a journey. And that journey finds new horizons when heard late at night through headphones with nothing but the candidly expressive instrumentation piercing the stillness of the night.
Tusks' debut album Dissolve is out on October 13th via One Little Indian, pre-order here