The The

Epic Records, 1993


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


On a gloomy night, when the sky is overcast and so is your soul, you seek comfort in a tavern, where you are entertained – or rather consoled – in its dingy environment by the hauntingly authoritative voice of one Mr. Matt Johnson, whose songs unwrap the deepest desires and insecurities of the human soul, jeering at God’s great masterpiece, the confused human. This is The The’s Dusk summarized.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Uncomplicated, yet far from beautiful, the tracks on Dusk have no catchy riffs or flamboyant guitar displays. These are modest tunes made alive by Matt Johnson’s confirming manner of singing, and his blatantly honest lyrics. This fact is made even more surprising by the fact that Johnny Marr’s presence as the main guitarist isn’t obvious at all in the album’s music.

As is the case with other The The records, Dusk is all Matt Johnson’s overwhelming personality, from head to toe. The cut with which the album kicks off – “True Happiness This Way Lies” – gives more than just a glimpse of Johnson’s personality: Not really a “song” in the conventional sense, this strange track is an instructive speech by Johnson mocking the desires of the flawed human, presented in a cathartic spoken-word narrative. “Dogs Of Lust,” along with “Slow Emotion Replay,” are the only two conventionally catchy numbers in this bunch of dark and difficult tunes.

The single “Dogs Of Lust” is undoubtedly the album’s best song. However, Dusk actually reaches its summit on the totally unusual back-to-back cuts “Lung Shadows” and “Bluer Than Midnight.” On the former, Johnson’s whispers give a feeling of an evil spirit lurking in the darkest corners of one’s house; on the latter, it seems as if this spirit has actually entered one’s body, and is singing out one’s fears, in a manner that’s unafraid of exposing any vulnerability – “Save me from myself / One sin leads to another one / Oh, the harder I try / I can never, never, never find peace in this life.”

Dusk exemplifies simplicity in music and words with its mellow songs – a deceptive façade for such an intense and cathartic record.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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