by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
After nearly fifteen years of records, it’s amazing to see that Boston’s Dust From 1000 Yrs continue to get better and better. Last year’s A Sweet Thing Turns Sour made the case as being the best album Bone has done to date, a release that was rooted in bad times-folk and sincerely nuanced songwriting. Less than a year later Dust is back with Born To Itch, a new full length due out tomorrow, May 21st via Bone’s own So Hard Young Boy imprint. After playing some stunning banjo on Puppy Problems’ album, he’s picked it up again for his own record, paying homage to outlaw country and the great wide open West with a dampened twang, gothic folk, and an eerie resolve. The rattling atmosphere and arpeggiated chords are still very much Dust From 1000 Yrs, and the personal tension is as heavy as ever.
Left to dry up and burn in the hot sun, it’s not all doom and gloom however, every now and then we’re met with a mirage of hope. “Spots” is an enormous barn burner, the banjo led progression an accent on top of distorted washes of guitar. The entire song erupts into hoedown like freedom as Bone reminds us “it’s cool, it’s under control, but I’m just barely holding on.” Like the tough times of the dust bowl and the arid landscape of the desert, these songs pull at your resolve, moseying their way down the trail from one trial and tribulation to the next. “Hard Life” is a reminder of Bone’s general disposition, “I’ll take what I got, I can’t complain. Spend my life fucking up, I don’t know any other way.”
That less than sunny sentimentality is captured on centerpiece “Sugar On My Mind,” a sprawling near ten minutes of heartbreak and what could be classified as front-porch acoustic doom. That is until about six minutes into the song when things come alive in a way closer to DUST 2017’s dance vibes meets Neil Young, thick with harmonies and an outright joyous repetition of “it’s all I can think about, I got sugar on my mind.” The combination of the song’s prolonged crawl and the ends tonal flip is truly amazing, something best achieved by its unpredictability.
The album is bleak in a way that fans of Dust From 1000 Yrs should expect, but there’s enough blistering distortion (“Whip Me Like A Dog”), brilliant finger-picked explosive cowboy despair (“Born To Rock”), gorgeous campfire sing-and-strum ballads (“The Taste of Your Lips”), and surprise swells of noise and nuance, and to paint depression with various shades of gray.