When I first listened to Ladyfinger (ne)’s Dusk all the way through, I disliked it. Now, I always give a record a second chance because some need time to grow on you properly. Still, some are rotten regardless of the time that passes. It’s hard to tell. Dusk is doing the former and is growing on me with each listen.
Generally, my reason for an initial aversion to a good record is complexity; there’s too much to grasp on the first listen, and for what ever reason, a brain will only process that after a second or third spin. I’m not sure Dusk is all that complex. I’m still scratching my head. Why do I like it, then?
I’ve got another theory: as all fat kids like me know, the real test of a rock record is whether it survives the run test. For those of us who only intermittently exercise, listening to music can be a double-edged sword. A terrible rock record on a run will make you curse the day your mother bore you and make you wish your legs would fall off so you might eat dirt and die. A good one will allow you to almost – and I do mean almost – enjoy exercise.
Let’s take this a bit further. If a good rock record can keep you exercising, your quality of life might increase. Your arteries may not clog as quickly, and you just might live a longer life. Without giving Dusk the Surgeon General’s stamp of approval, I don’t hate myself when I’m running and listening to the album, don’t want to commit trailside seppuku.
This may be because Dusk is cohesive. Little differentiates one track from another. Each is generally a driving, chugging, guitar driven, three to four minute slice in a bigger pie, a pie with homogeneous filling. None stand out, but none fall flat. It’s even, a hard rock record worth a chance. You could set your watch by it.
Nine times out of ten labeling a record “hard rock” may be as well calling it rubbish. The term is synonymous with all those shite bands grinding it out somewhere between the sound of Creed, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. If I’m showing all my cards, I’d rather listen to the latest pop star straight off of American Idol than a hard rock record. Dusk is hard rock, but it is hard rock in the same way that Queens of the Stone Age is a hard rock band. Having a bland genre tacked to your band doesn’t mean you have to roll over and die.
How can you not like a record that includes a tongue-in-cheek defense of eloping (“Let’s Get Married”)? Or a record with “Born in the 80’s”, a generational exercise in drawing a line in the sand? Let’s not forget “A.D.D.”. (Dexedrine or Ritalin anyone?) It’s hard to tell when hard rock got serious and forgot to have fun. Ladyfinger didn’t get the memo, or at least, took a lighter to it.
Isn’t that really all you can ask for most of the time? A record that doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t make you buy seven crap songs for three good ones. Dusk has ten solid ones. And what the heck, I’m giving this one the Unofficial Surgeon General’s stamp of approval.