ALBUM REVIEW: Tusks explores vast soundscapes on ‘Dissolve’

Tusks (Emily Underhill), a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer will release her weighty but not overly dark debut album, Dissolve this Friday, October 13.

Following previous EPs Ink (2014) and False (2016) – Dissolve, released via One Little Indian Records, co-produced by long-term collaborator Brett Cox, also producer of Jack Garratt, immerses the listener in a world of texture built into expansive soundscapes filling your ears with elements of cinematic post-rock and verbed out vocals. Her cinematic approach has me sucked in.

She attributes this to a rich visual imagination, “I’m a very visual person, I love being outdoors and surrounded my nature. I grew up by the sea and I’ve always tried to spend as much time outside and travel as much as possible – I think perhaps subconsciously that all influences how cinematic some of my music can be and why I love creating the artwork to go with it”.

Dissolve builds on Tusks previous releases, creating more cinematic and electronic elements to accompany her ethereal voice.

Prior to the full release, she released three singles, “Toronto”, “Dissolve”, and “Last”. “Toronto,” the most melodic instrumental on the album, reminds me of Sigur Rós mixed with Tallest Man On Earth, and was written in Toronto to reflect the vast Canadian scenery.

“Last” is the punchiest on the album, explains Tusk. “It was a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to a person at the time who I’d invested loads of energy and time into who’d messed me around”.

All three are a perfect introduction to the album, while I most gravitate towards “Dissolve”, with its epic guitar intro and dissonant chorus. She takes this track to a different level.

Dissolve seamlessly moves from one track to another, each adding a new color to her vast palette. Although a sadder project, is one not to be missed. She recently performed at the Troubadour last month and here’s to hoping she comes back to LA again soon!

Words by Steven Roston