Following on from the re-issue of their classic 'Hex' here is a re-press of their much overlooked follow up 'Codename: Dustsucker'. Though at this point Bark Psychosis were really just frontman Graham Sutton this is a strong follow up retaining the same eerie late night atmospheres and adding in more obvious hints of shoegaze. Talk Talk's Lee Harris guests on an album that will appeal to fans of the late work of his band and that of Slowdive.
Staff note from Clinton:
I gave this album short shrift when it came out in 2004 as I loved 'Hex' so much I just didn't think they could top it. Which they haven't, but it's still a lovely listen...kind of a mix between Talk Talk's 'Laughing Stock' and Slowdive's 'Pygmalion'. Listening to it in the office today my mind has been changed about this much-neglected album, and I'll be buying this re-issue when it comes out.
4 reviews. Add your own review.
I'm not sure what I was doing in 2004 that meant that I all but ignored this record by my one time favourites Bark Psychosis. I assume I was sick of dreamy shoegaze and post rock and was much more into Justin Timberlake and the exciting r&b that was around at the time.
Thank God then for re-issues. Those things that I spend 90% of my working day whining about because the re-issues of this splendid album has made me listen to it with ears afresh. I think part of my issues back then was expectation. The band was pretty much just Graham Sutton by this point and I felt without the band things wouldn't be the same. Well it turns out they aren't the same at all but a different kind of good. Sutton enlists Lee Harris (Talk Talk) to help out with the drums and there's a whole host of people involved including someone called Chicken who is credited with Gonk vocal.
So it's a more scattershot affair than 'Hex' - a less rounded and precise LP. Instead it sprawls often in several directions at once. Opener "From What Is Said to When It's Read" is just superb - bringing to mind the marvellously fractured 'Pygmalion' album by Slowdive - or maybe an even more laid back Low a brilliant chord sequence illuminated by terrific drumming and Sutton's hushed voice. There is a jazzier feel here - both 'The Black Meat' and especially 'Miss Abuse' have long Chet Baker ish trumpet solos. In fact then latter is simply a good few chords on an acoustic guitar and an elongated trumpet. It goes absolutely nowhere in a very pretty fashion.
Unlike 'Hex' Sutton isn't always on the mic. "Dr. Innocuous/Ketamoid" is the albums sprawling centrepiece and focal point and utilises Anja Buechele's soft as springtime voice alongside lashings of gorgeous rhodes piano and again some pretty sweet trumpet lines. Fans of Harris' drumming with Talk Talk need to listen to this record - he really has an amazing swishing style. Would love to hear more of him on other peoples records.
One of the main facets of 'Codename: Dustsucker' is Sutton's daring production touches. He's unafraid to add in bursts of noise or a really loud synth squeak to change a mood or create a dynamic shift. There's more texture and tonal differences in this record to 'Hex', a completely different beast but a brilliant one. Ensure you don't miss out on this record this time round.
Phil's incisive review from back in 2006.
Bark Psychosis have been having somewhat of a resurgence of late. So it would make sense to reform and do a new album. Cleverly that's what the boys did and those nice folks at Fire Records Of Nottingham have released it. A nice healthy dose of Shoegazing with some late period Talk Talk chucked in for good measure. Most enjoyable indeedy...
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- Codename: Dustsucker by Bark Psychosis
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