by Logan Lamers
Five years after putting out their self-titled record, the Crutch of Memory sextet Dusk are set to release Glass Pastures, an album of nine songs that stands toe-to-toe with the juggernauts of rock, folk, and country.
The band’s current lineup of Amos Pitsch, Julia Blair, Ryley Crowe, Tyler Ditter, Ridley Tankersley, and Bill Grasley have been seen on stage crammed close together, microphones doled out to each member and amplifiers moving a staggering amount of air. But on this album, the Appleton powerhouse has room to breathe and showcase their range—all with a trademarked edge that keeps the music real and personal.
The first track, “Pissing in a Wishing Well,” sets a perfect tone for the record: the band trades guitar lines while Pitsch sings of discontent in the form of passing on the gates of heaven and licking candle wicks. The production, instrumentation, and harmonies illustrate the most recent standards of what Crutch of Memory delivers.
“At the Roadside,” a quintessential driving song featuring one of the best guitar riffs on the record, finds Crowe recounting a true story of a tour gone awry. Rumor has it that the analog drum machine used on the track began to lag during the recording— fortunately the band’s performance was so consistent that they were able to edit the drum machine to fit their tempo.
Blair takes over vocals on “Dusk,” a personal favorite. It exemplifies the band in the way you would expect from the title, with each member getting a moment to shine between euphoric choruses. The lyrics touch on a disillusionment familiar to anyone trying to stay worldly in a stagnant place, and the grit in Blair’s voice is recognizably powerful.
The force of Dusk is balanced with softer moments. “Organized Crime” is an ode to outcasts, while “Gold Blue & Grey” invokes a woozy retrospection with glorious harmonies. “Be Nice to Me All Day Long,” the final track, leaves the listener swaying with arms around their neighbors’ shoulders. The song was recorded pristinely with members in separate rooms; the instrumental re-entry on the final chorus was done blindly, humbly evidencing how good Dusk is at what they do.
The band has produced a remarkably honest album, balancing meticulous studio process with live energy. This record could only have been made by the members of Dusk and their varied musical backgrounds and experiences. Listeners may be surprised to learn that there are another dozen-plus songs left on the Crutch cutting room floor from these sessions. Whether they are released or not is for the band to decide, but it’s clear that their selections have yielded a timeless tour-de-force
Glass Pastures will be released on October 20th on Don Giovanni Records.
The release is now available as pre-order at (click the link below) with the title track digitally available now.
Logan Lamers is a musician and educator based in Oshkosh, WI. With over a decade of experience in performance and composition, he has explored styles of music ranging from classical to experimental to pop. He champions the universality of the arts and the philosophy of learning the rules to figure out which ones to break.
September 14th Spoken Word Nights The Tarlton Theatre 405-409 W Walnut St, Green Bay, WI 7:00–9:30 PM Free Event
September 15th Opening Reception | 48th Juried Annual Exhibition Miller Art Museum 107 S 4th Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI 5:30 PM Free Event
September 16th Neenah-Menasha InterTribal Pow Wow Shattuck Park 210 E Wisconsin Ave, Neenah. WI 1:00–4:00 PM Free Event