[sic] Magazine

Dusty Mush – Cheap Entertainment

This review is being written less than 24 hours after the fatal attack at Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena show in this writer’s hometown. Denial and shock, as they do worldwide with attacks of this nature, have now given way to grief and, in many cases, anger. The West is in no way entirely innocent when it comes to the reasons groups such as the one claiming this attack exist, yet – as usual – those that suffer most on both sides of the conflict were. But, seriously, how did we even ever reach a stage of humanity where our differences are perceived to be of such great importance that they merit nail-bombing children? Diversity should be celebrated, not simply tolerated or – God forbid (don’t forget!) – worse. You never have to agree with another’s point of view, but making the effort to understand that POV rather than condemning it self-righteously is surely a better defence mechanism.

Three years in the making, Paris garage-psych band Dusty Mush’s new album is called Cheap Entertainment and, in light of the above, it raises certain questions. The arts are often a form of entertainment, some – sometimes strangely – given higher-brow status than others. And there will, aptly, be those that continue to write the likes of Ariana Grande off as a form of cheap or light entertainment while smugly revelling in the distorted peaks of a band like Dusty Mush. Might she not empower her young fans in the way Dusty Mush might inspire theirs though? Are fans of either so different that it’d ever be worth separating and pigeonholing them? Taken to the extreme, where might that sort of behaviour lead? Each likes what they like and who is anyone to judge? You don’t yet like a band you’ve not heard yet either. À chacun son gout actuel. Such so-called micro-aggressions are hot political potatoes at the moment, but – no matter – we perhaps ought to look at ourselves first before pointing the finger at others. Diversity and personal taste are wonderful things, but division rarely is.

Cheap Entertainment, produced by genre go-to Patrick Haight (Ty Segall, Bare Wires etc.), may or may not be worthy of such a think-piece according to your own personal point of view, but – via scorching Jay Reatard-style fuzz – it makes a strong case for some kind of appraisal in any case and, if not, it’s certainly worthy of at least a listen for anyone with even the slightest interest in all things garage-psych.

An avalanche of sneering fists and spit, “More & More” is typical of the album’s “everything in overdrive” approach, snotty hoots dotting the ramshackle run-time throughout. Buzzing rhythms and retro drum patterns establish a sleazy psychobilly side to proceedings too, the brothel-creeping boogie of “I Ate Your Dog”, for example, latterly developing into a full-on, blown-out fuzz-monster. Piercing feedback and sloppy freak-outs are also the order of the day, guitarist Cédric Bottacchi’s unhinged vocal howling at the moon when it isn’t gargling like a drowning demon. Cheap Entertainment, weirdo slow-stomping droners straight out of the John Dwyer handbook aside, still – unsurprisingly perhaps given its title – aims to please however, every angry jangle balanced by catchy lo-fi melodies and mirage-like surf riffs that rise out of the noise in an attempt to ascend to another plane. This is music made purely for the fun of it and, today of all days, let’s not spoil it with any further analysis. Vive la différence.

Best track: “Not Wild”

~Cheap Entertainment is out May 26th 2017 via the collaborative efforts of Howlin’ Banana, Stolen Body Records and Yippee Ki Yay Records. Catch one of Dusty Mush bassist Romain Duplessier (aka The Attic Video’s) neat VHS-edited videos below.~