In some ways, Brian Borcherdt’s new project is the polar opposite of his work in Holy Fuck: Where that band is a dizzying maelstrom of pure rhythm—all beats, funky breaks, and hypnotic loops—Dusted is a voice-and-guitar-based duo. And yet there’s a clear connection between the two musical entities, bound up in Borcherdt’s enduring love of analogue sounds, echoed motifs, texture, and mood.
Like Borcherdt’s pre-Holy Fuck effort, The Remains of Brian Borcherdt, Dusted draws on the soupy, murky guitar tones and heady distortion of ’90s four-track recordings; at times, it seems as though Borcherdt and collaborator Leon Taheny (an underrated producer who’s worked with Final Fantasy and SS Cardiacs) are simply paying homage to the claustrophobic beauty of Cat Power’s What Would the Community Think and Sebadoh’s Bakesale. But when the reverbed vocals and icy synths kick in on “Bruises,” or a rippling echo overtakes the faint harpsichord sounds on “(Into the) Atmosphere,” the subtle, precise details of these songs start to shine through.
Borcherdt is not a bravura vocalist, but he primarily sticks to a watery falsetto here, which meshes well with the fuzzed-out arrangements. They may not be going for a “Holy fuck!” reaction with Dusted, but Borcherdt and Taheny will definitely earn more than a few “Rad, dudes.”
Playlist picks: “Bruises,” “Property Lines,” “(Into the) Atmosphere”
Dusted plays the Get Well Bar (1181 Dundas St. W.) on July 7.