Dusted, the latest indie-folk side project from Brian Borcherdt, best known for his lo-fi, synth-rock electronic group Holy Fuck, brings in producer Leon Taheny on keyboards and drums. Together they produce an evocative and disconcerting meld of terse rhythms and haunting basslines, underscoring breathy, pleading vocals. Dusted's debut album, Total Dust, is an easy listen in ten short songs about the heavy themes of morality and death. Reminiscent of Chad VanGaalen's Infiniheart, Total Dust depicts sterile, urban landscapes and the portraits of the searching hearts walking among it.
In "All Comes Down," a fuzzy bass echoes Borcherdt's repeated cry of When will it all come down, and the result is a resigned and beautiful exhaustion. From there, the album picks up tempo and tone with "(Into the) Atmosphere," which counters a spirited folk lightness with lyrics implying life's inevitable collapse into airborne particles. Ending with the simple and disturbing love song, "There Somehow," Borcherdt promises that Whatever it takes to claim you, as my own I aim to, tame you somehow.
Raw, nervous, and minimally constructed, Total Dust's deep melancholy is easy to get lost in and, unfortunately, over far too quickly. And with what Dusted loses in familiarity for those expecting the dance-rock of Holy Fuck, it gains in resonant and disturbing listening pleasure. One among his many solo endeavors, Borcherdt's latest offering of lo-fi indie pop proves itself unflinching and memorable, and perhaps worthy of more than a side project. (Polyvinyl Record Co.)