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Bark Psychosis - ///Codename:Dustsucker

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Artist: Bark Psychosis

Album: ///Codename:Dustsucker

Label: Fire

Review date: Aug. 25, 2004

It's not unusual for bands to go on hiatus. Seemingly every group takes a break at some point in their careers, but, for Bark Psychosis, the process was more than a simple timeout. Founder Graham Sutton, after eight years in the group, chose to concentrate on his Boymerang project in 1994, and Bark Psychosis lay dormant for five years. In 1999, however, Sutton began work on the music that would become ///Codename:Dustsucker, and, five years later, the album has finally been released. Bark Psychosis were silent for ten years, a length of time that could make or break a group's career. Such a suspension of public activities will often result in one of two outcomes – a rabid desire on the part of critics and the band's fanbase for a return, and a triumphant re-entry into the consciousness of the public eye; or a general ambivalence that leaves a band in the lurch upon their return, damning them to failure. For every Bon Jovi or Mission of Burma, who find success in their comebacks, there are the ill-fated attempts of countless bands whose quest for resurgence may never even reach the pubic eye (or ear), even on the level of independent music. Luckily, for Sutton and Bark Psychosis, this doesn't seem to be an applicable issue.

Augmented by a group of 14 musicians and vocalists, Sutton leads the group through nine dreamy numbers which don’t often vary from a formula that might be tired in 2004, but something that Sutton pulls of with a vitality that many others lack. The lush opener “From What is Said to When it’s Read” sets the bar a bit higher than the rest of the album is able to reach, but most of ///Codename:Dustsucker’s tracks are far from disappointing. The melodic trumpet of “The Black Meat” dampens the ambience of the track, but the hints of elevator music that arise don’t infringe upon the majority of the disc. Sutton’s skill as an architect of the swell-and-rise doesn’t exactly teach the old dog of space rock new tricks, but it’s more than enough to imbue something special into Bark Psychosis’ music, an almost addictive quality that leaves the mind awash in sound and color. The use of piano on “Miss Abuse” and “Burning the City” provides a stoic beauty to the tracks, especially in contrast to the stark, almost violent ending of the latter.

Before the lengthy construction of this album, Graham Sutton’s mind had been away from Bark Psychosis for a few years, but it’s hard to tell. ///Codename:Dustsucker is largely without missteps or ill-advised ideas; instead it’s a fresh look at the sound that he’d once eschewed. It’s nothing brazenly new, but there’s no need for it to be. The nighttime dream that is ///Codename:Dustsucker is enveloping enough that there’s not much need to worry about such minor squabbles, as, with this music, the details aren’t what matter in the end.

By Adam Strohm

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