Serene noises of nature, lush orchestral murmuring, trembling electric guitar, precise bells and voices…this describes the vast range of sounds that can be found just in the first track of Dusty Richards by Dusty Richards, a Portland-based singer-songwriter with a rich musical background and a bright future.
Richards makes his first arrival on “Whether or Not” the first lyrical track on the album that sets the tone for the rest of the record. His ardent, effortless voice leads a choir of sounds from pianos, stringed instruments, vocal harmonies and other instruments, including a solid drum beat that holds the track together. The song feels vintage while maintaining a crisp, current edge of modern music.
A few of the songs on the album are more hard-hitting but equally melodic, such as “Nothing is Simple” and “The Baptist” but to compensate and balance the album are songs such as “Soldier,” “Lost at Sea” and “Lights Out” in which Richards takes jaunts into several subgenres of country and folk. Eventually, the bouncing bass in “Lights Out” layered over energetic guitars and riffs, create a danceable tune, featuring harmonica that overcomes the minor, somber connotations first associated with the song. The song is followed by a reflective, somewhat depressing segue-soundscape.
The energy of the album picks back up again with “At Night,” a beach rock tune similar in style to “Up In It” that exhibits an unrelenting bass line accompanied by sunny reverb-laced vocals and quick guitar strums. This combination makes for the best track on the album yet. Another highlight of the album is the six-minute long “Love” followed by “And Now Sharks,” a double dose of thought provoking, haunting and quote filled super-anthems inquiring into the nature of love.
The electronic percussion featured in the final section of “Serve You” makes for a spectacular outro to a spectacular song. This is the first time in the album that employs such percussion and it serves as a type of foil to the acoustic percussion found in the rest of the album. The final track “After the Storm” is the full expression of the musical themes explored and hinted at in the album’s opening song. After a sweet, contemplative tune, the notes degenerate into an eerie blend of static, voices and finally silence.
The variety found on Dusty Richards is mostly unmatched in today’s music and this speaks directly to the talent and capacity of Dusty Richards. The album is best listened to as a narrative - from beginning to end in one sitting. This masterpiece can, should and will definitely propel Richards far into his musical career.
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