By Daniel Strawhun, A&E Editor
On January 13, Brooklyn-based pop group Yucky Duster released their new EP, “Duster’s Lament.” The EP, distributed by Infinity Cat Recordings, is the group’s second release since their self-titled album “Yucky Duster” debuted in June 2016.
This time the band is back with a shorter, but altogether sweeter, collection of five songs. The sometimes brash, aggressive shouting that vocalists Madeline Babuka Black and Maggie Gaster brought to the band’s earlier self-titled release is markedly missing from the new EP. Instead, Black and Gaster, who also double as the band’s drummer and bassist respectively, have mellowed at the microphone, delivering consistent, cotton-candy-sweet vocal harmonies that would make Lesley Gore proud. As a result, “Duster’s Lament” feels much less punk-inspired than the band’s self-titled album did.
Also new to the vocal mix are guitarists Zack O’Brien and Luca Balser, who are featured prominently in tracks like “The Ropes” and “Different People.” The guitar work on “Duster’s Lament” is simple, but not simplistic. The smooth, upbeat rhythm sections carry the songs forward, while the tastefully overdriven lead chimes in in perfectly timed intervals. The effect is reminiscent of the Beatles, specifically the Beatles of “Revolver,” the Beatles who wrote songs like “She Said She Said” and “And Your Bird Can Sing.”
One thing that did carry over from Yucky Duster’s first album is the group’s sense of humor. Every song on the new EP has a line in it that is sure to make listeners smile. In the first track, “Duster’s Lament,” Black and Gaster complain, “I don’t mean to be a drag; I’m just having one of those years”—a hyperbolic line that nearly everyone has thought at some point in life. “Thaw,” the second track on “Duster’s Lament,” begins with the line “I smelled you from a couple blocks away, and then I’d hear you at my window,” sung deadpan by Black. “The Ropes,” the EP’s second single, is segmented by a loud, juicy kiss that was strategically planted on the track so as to usher in its refrain. The EP’s first single, “Elementary School Dropout,” is funny from the title onward. Black sings, “I’m allowed to know what’s real, what’s unnecessary, what’s uncomplementerary [sic]…I’m an elementary school dropout, I break the rules like every single time.”
This offbeat humor, coupled with the group’s penchant for upbeat rhythms and sweet pop harmonies, seems to sprout right out of the head of Weezer’s “Blue Album.”
The songs on “Duster’s Lament,” while brief (the longest is three minutes, and the entire five song EP is barely ten minutes long), are memorable, and well worth the five dollars that the band is asking for in return. “Duster’s Lament” can be purchased on the Yucky Duster bandcamp page, at https://yuckyduster.bandcamp.com/