Bark Psychosis - ///Codename: Dustsucker

by Sean Hewson Rating:10 Release Date:2018-05-25
Bark Psychosis - ///Codename: Dustsucker
Bark Psychosis - ///Codename: Dustsucker

Bark Psychosis’s second album, ///Codename: Dustsucker, came out 10 years after their classic debut – Hex.  However, it was recorded between 1999 and 2004. It was assembled in Graham Sutton’s studio and featured contributions from Talk Talk’s drummer, Lee Harris.

Lovely, warm guitar and bass start From What Is Said To When It’s Said. There is also a little Wah-wah and prominent drums before Sutton’s voice comes in. It’s a simple sound but also quite widescreen. Electronic sounds bubble in the silence before the song crashes back in. It’s a fantastic start to the album. The Black Meat starts with electric piano before the whole band come in to follow a skittering drum beat. Sutton’s voice is throaty and relaxed and as close mic’d as his guitar. There is a Robert Smith-like guitar line and lovely sections of muted trumpet and melodica.

Miss Abuse starts with a sound that I can’t quite place. It sounds like the strings of an instrument being struck with a stick (someone clever will know). Brushes are used on the drums, in contrast to the huge bass sound. As with What Is Said To When It’s Said, the song halts and is taken up again. A slightly incongruous Acid House synth line joins the mix, but played very slowly. Throughout this album, sounds that shouldn’t work are dropped into arrangements and they suddenly make sense. Anja Buechele takes the lead vocal on 400 Winters. Pete Beresford’s vibraphone is also a welcome addition to this slightly Jazzier track. Again, the song radically changes half-way through. Throughout the album, the band try to break away from conventional song structures but the wonderful arrangements and cohesive feeling don’t ever allow this to be jarring. The song finishes with another abrupt left turn into a piano and answerphone message duet.

Dr. Innocuous/Ketamoid, the shortest track here by some distance, is more of a mid-way marker that gets cut off by the start of Burning The City. Sutton’s voice here reminds me of Mark Kozelek, it’s the slight whisper in his voice. Anja Buechele can be heard counting out the three bar pattern. Making the point that Bark Psychosis are breaking from the more familiar 4, 8 and 12 structures. The arrangement here reminds me of a less ramshackle Sparklehorse.  The 8 minute INQB8TER starts with ambient noise. Guitar hum and feedback join a sparse drum pattern as the song slowly reveals itself. It’s a bit of a noisier track but without disturbing the overall feel of the album as Sutton’s vocal and the other accompaniment are quite subdued. Rachel Dreyer takes the lead vocal on Shapeshifting. Drums back an acoustic guitar, with a warm organ just underneath. When the electric guitar comes in it is very overdriven. Later on the same guitar will play a ridiculous noise solo with loads of tremolo arm abuse. It’s great fun and leaves as abruptly as it appeared. The last track, Rose, starts with a spidery line played on (I’m guessing, by looking at Wikipedia) a Sindhi Tamboura. The spoken vocal comes from Silke Roch.

///Codename: Dustsucker is another triumph from Graham Sutton and his chums. Songs are left to unfold gorgeously. There is a Talk Talk influence but it’s not direct theft but more a similar sense of adventure. Sparklehorse and Jazz are also in there, as is a desire the play with structure whilst also not disturbing the overall feel. Both of Bark Psychosis’s albums are brilliant and deserve re-issue and re-discovery.

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