Album Review: The Cush – Riders in the Stardust Gold.

With scratchy dynamics and alt. country gothica, chamber-touched indie and a dark 70s psych, we trip into the lure of The Cush. It’s a deep seam of fuzzed out and bleached desert sounds with a grimness that lurks in the dirt. We can almost hear vultures clamping down on old bones, shoegaze never sounded so… rural.

Track the prints of The Cush back and we get Viva Voce, Low and Crime & the City Solution, but these aren’t the sole tones of the album. Over the course of the six tracks that push the half hour, it breaks shape and re-moulds as it goes.

The opening salvo that broods through its groove covers hate, love, addictions, depression. These are humanist songs with a rattlesnake slither that still leave a mark close to pretty, and that’s down to the vocals inside. The voices of husband and wife, they run between lean glides and jangled guitars, and either muted or open punch drums. Just that one glistening thing amongst texture and noise keeps these tracks sounding fragile and sweet.

As the album moves on it gets thicker. ‘Chariots of Smog’ marks the start of the change into looser, more urgent expressions. By the time we hit ‘Ajna Returns’, we are hip deep in 70’s psych rock. It meanders, engages and presses. It’s a cool wedge of dustbowl tinged grunge. The only time we get bigger and bolder than this is the album’s last track ‘Daydream Beach’, where all traces of slither and U.S. southern gothica are swapped out for a new restless grind. All that shoegaze that sounded so rural, it swings back and taps The Joy Formidable ’s blast to make something that’s rough, rich and pulsing.

In a vast land of shuffling, playlists and singles, this reminds us that albums have shape. All the changes, the textures, the bleeding of imagery, how they all culminate and hit outwards, that’s ‘Riders in the Stardust Gold’s charm. That, and its title that could work just as well for the next Indiana Jones motion picture.