At Dusk – Small Light

At Dusk - Small Light

At Dusk - Small Light

In 20 tracks, Small Light picks, taps, and  strums out a warm, intimate farewell letter to an original hybrid of folk and mathy post-punk. After 10 years, Portland trio At Dusk deem this fourth effort their last and most accomplished to date.

The band calls it “prog folk”—their unique sound marked by richly textured, multi-part guitars snapping out linear melodies and fine cut rhythms. With most of the color and rhythm mapped out by the strings and frets, additional percussion stays at a minimum and the shared vocals never leave their safe-place.

The first of the best is “Oh No”. The playful intro leads into deft rhythmic work. The music sounds strikingly meditative without a drum set behind it. Small Light hits many moods, and on “Frank” it takes a markedly snappy turn. A compact guitar figure plays over the bass line and leads to one of the album’s better vocal harmonies. Fingers get a workout in this 3 minute opus of unorthodox and daring music. For an example of one of the album’s better, shorter works, see “The First Alphabet”.

But “Okays” is probably my favorite. Everything works here. Starting out with determination, the song drives towards its expertly crafted chorus. You couldn’t ask for a better fit. And the vocals are up to par: “I wouldn’t say I loved you / It’s more precise to say you made me love myself /  But that feeling’s fleeting now that I don’t see you anymore / And I do not expect you to find me, Yes, I know the score”. Small Light never sounds muddy, over or under produced. It sounds about right. From song to song, At Dusk uses the same tools but subtly different techniques to create and explore a range of moods and emotions.

Small Light rewards listeners with a highly intimate sounding collection of very sophisticated songs. It is not to be missed. The band, on the other hand, will be.

At Dusk home