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The Dead C - Tusk

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Artist: The Dead C

Album: Tusk

Label: Siltbreeze

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002

This is the Dead C’s second attempt to make a rock record. On 1995’s The White House, they tried and failed, populating half of the disc with vertiginous soundscapes and letting all but one of the actual tunes (of which there weren’t many) entropically collapse.

Tusk wields its classic rock appellation like a talisman, but it still owes more to the lava-like flow of Repent, the trio’s voice-free collection of in-concert jams recorded in 1996, than it does to any collection of rock songs that I’ve ever heard. They get some of the component pieces right; there’s Robbie Yeats’ inexorably driving drumming, Bruce Russell and Michael Morley’s grinding rhythm guitar riffs, and Morley’s vocal melodies that ooze out of the static-ridden haze.

But like a burning garbage truck that’s falling apart as it careens out of control, these songs are known more by the pieces that fly off of them than by their whole parts. Morley’s e-bow loops and Russell’s slabs of pure noise fall away, soiling or crushing everything they land on. The Dead C are 0-for-2 in their chosen quest, and I hope that they never get it right.

By Bill Meyer

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