CC Dust: S/T 12"

Perennial Records


CC DUST is a new duo from Olympia, Washington featuring Maryjane Dunphe and David Jaques. Channeling an elemental life-force hewn straight from the heart, Dunphe’s voice bursts into every melodic line, a cracked, soulful instrument powered by conviction, duetting, duelling and dancing with Jaques’ crisp electronic production. A light that casts shadow, a doomed, romantic music anchored by Jacques’ live bass and powerful performance values Dunphe has honed both in her punk group Vexx and in various film and performance projects.

Musically, CC Dust’s precedents might be considered the European synth pop originators of the early 80s, there’s also an abundance of low-end hooks played on baritone and bass guitars that teases the ear like early New Order productions, but in Dunphe’s passionate vocal performances there’s a close-to-the-bone reality that bypasses cool detachment. CC Dust play and write real songs lived. Grappling with bigger issues but brought in your face, a song like Never Gonna Die grabs life by the throat, passionate and full of energy. Tonopah is an emotionally propulsive mid-tempo starling that melts into the arms of Baby Boy, all subterranean emotion, slow burning and indistinct but no less powerful for it. Sweeping near-ballad Abra towers and soars with Dunphe’s vocal control while Mutiny closes the record with a torn peon to desire. What is it? How does it manifest? Is it all worth the tumult? CC Dust offer no answers as there are none, but they ask the right questions in a life-affirming way. Doomed, romantic, unanswerable and vital.

Our take: Debut 12" from this synth-pop project featuring the singer from the great punk band Vexx. I've been seeing people freaking out about this record all over my social media feeds, and with good reason. I can't think of another record in my collection that so effectively combines the simple, pounding aggression of minimal synth like the Normal with such a sophisticated pop sensibility. It's this dynamic that really is at the heart of CC Dust's brilliance... on your first listen you'll just let those beefy 808 rhythms pound you in the face, but as you listen closer these tracks quickly reveal themselves as absolutely brilliant pop songs. It's an aesthetic that Total Control has explored a little bit on their most electronic-oriented tracks like "Paranoid Video" and "Bloody Glass," but CC Dust commit to the sound more fully and add in a healthy dollop of more produced, synth-oriented 80s pop. This one only just came in, but I can already tell that these five songs are going to be coming out of the speakers at the shop quite a lot over the next several weeks.
Tags: 10s female-fronted melodic post-punk recommended synth-pop