Dusk opens with incendiary guitars, crashing drums and electrifying vocals as Ladyfinger (Ne) calls for the volume and testosterone levels to grow rapidly. It balances the focus between the modest songwriting and energetic music, and while some parts won’t stay with you, others will. In either case, it’s definitely worth rocking out to with some friends while you hang out.
Attaching (Ne) to signify that they come from Nebraska, the group formed circa 2006. The line-up has always been singer/guitarist Chris Machmuller, bassist Ethan Jones, guitarist Jamie Massey, and drummer Pat Oakes. Avoiding the ill-fated “Sophomore Slump” some bands suffer, Ladyfinger (Ne) have crafted a noteworthy mixture of hard rock and post-grunge that would make influences Drive like Jehu, The Jesus Lizard and Motörhead proud.
Referring back to the opener, “Over and Over” has an immediate hook with all its elements. Vocally, Machmuller resembles a ballsier, higher pitched Ray Davies (The Kinks) while the guitars and bass use biting riffs and percussion. The track draws upon the 70s rock scene without being too derivative, and the track is probably the best on the disc. “A.D.D” opens with a sharp timbre arpeggio and thumping syncopation. Machmuller shows a slightly warmer tone. The drums are the highlight of this track as things get more complex near the end. “Little Things” has a more memorable melody than the last track, and uses a more textbook structure.
“Two Years” has a very fast tempo and you can hear the bass a bit more here. The middle section jam and guitar solo is pretty cool too. “Read The Will” showcases a very engaging guitar riff and a nice break near the end for things to build back up. “Work Party” keeps things going with a more metallic guitar tone and marching beat. “Bones” is a calmer track with a flowing melody.
“Plans” opens with the vocals in the forefront behind lighter drums and condensed chords. It has some really nice harmonies too. “Let’s Get Married” is a bit punky in nature, but still interesting. Finally, the longest track, “Born In The 80’s,” takes its time introducing the instruments, and it’s the most progressive in terms of rhythm and dynamics. Machmuller really belts out his voice here and it’s a wonder he doesn’t hurt himself. It’s a great way to end Dusk.
If there is a downside, it’s that Ladyfinger (Ne) haven’t really produced diverse material (hence the lack of substantial description for each track). While it’s very good hard rock and there are the little differences, the overall sound of the album is largely the same. This leads to a record that works fine when it’s playing, but it all meshes together in memory. As I said, there are some riffs or vocal parts you’ll recall, but mostly not. Even so, Dusk is an achievement the band should be proud of because the group pulls off a sound not easily accomplished.