By Ted Richards
The reports of emo’s death have been greatly exaggerated. If you talk to me about music for even a little while you’ll hear me beating this same old drum. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as finding myself vindicated in my faith in emo’s resilience. Whenever I discover new bands cropping up, playing those catchy, mopey, lovely sounds, my attention is piqued and my hopes renewed.
Drusky honorably carries the torch of emo in Utah. Their name, a slurred contraction of “Drunk Husky” (according to the disembodied voices on “Nothing To You,” anyway), released a short, snappy EP two-and-a-half years ago called (Hush Hush Secret Stuff), and they have a new EP called In Transit out January 7th (pre-save it here). (Hush Hush Secret Stuff) clocks in at four songs – about 14 minutes of bouncy, fun indie/emo music, with very clean, undistracting production.
Track one, “Tuck Finder,” is a bouncy opener that addresses the woes of modern online dating. “Grosss” reflects on a bad relationship with a worse ex, and has a very cool intro/outro guitar lick. “Hesitations” discusses inadequacy and self-destruction in love over a waltzing ¾ rhythm, featuring very cool mathy breakdowns several times throughout. The closer “Nothing to You” is the most up-tempo and catchy song on the record, though lyrically it delves into dark themes about mistrust in relationships and musically it plunges into a cold pool of swirling guitar before crescendo-ing into a frenetic collapse.
There’s a lot to love about this record, but as with any early release there’s room for improvement as well. While it contains several hooky chorus lyrics (like in “Nothing to You”), many of the lyrics come off slightly overwrought or superficial, especially in the case of “Tuck Finder.” The clichés about Tinder are fun, but at a certain point become a crutch rather than a theme. Similar tropes, unfortunately, prove a mainstay lyrically throughout the EP. I must admit, however, that the sloppy, rowdy gang vocals at the end of “Tuck Finder” warmed my little punk heart, despite my qualms.
What Drusky did perfectly was keep the record tight and fun. Emo can sometimes fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously. Drusky know how to keep the songs short and interesting, and have a great sense of humor, too. Furthermore, they find a way to always include a little candy for fans of 90’s Midwest emo. The noodling in the intro/outro of “Grosss,” the breakdown sections in “Hesitations,” and the shoegaze-esque chords and arpeggios in “Nothing to You”: I loved all of it. If I had any complaint about the album musically, it’s that, for my taste, I wanted more! More twinkles, more noodles, more math-rock! More!
Overall, (Hush Hush Secret Stuff) is a strong first release. No fat to trim, nothing unnecessary, just catchy, jangly tunes. If this EP was Drusky’s live set, they would leave me wanting more (the cardinal rule of live performance). The string of singles since this EP was released are very cool and have me excited for what’s next.
Their new EP, In Transit, comes out January 7th. Make sure to follow Drusky on Instagram and check out “Nothing to You” below!