Finland’s the Gentleman Losers meet somewhere in a place that marries ambient electronics with soothing, organic instrumental film scores. Central to the subtle but quite textural works from brothers Samu and Ville Kuukka are slowly picked electric guitar melodies, which sometimes split into many fraying pieces with tremolo effects, so that the instrument is a little less distinct in the fog of loops and tape hiss so critical to the rest of the tracklist. Although Dustland moves mostly at a snail’s pace, it’s not without its surprises. Out of nowhere, “Bonetown Boys” sprouts beats—it retains the wilting tones that preoccupy producer/songwriter Bibio—but with a part live percussion/part drum loop thud at its core, it packs a lot more groove than the others here. In “Spider Lily”, the Kuukkas whip up the perfect backdrop for a hazy memories montage from a big-budget 1960s film (“Farandole” is equally as retro). Woodwinds find a prominent spot amid cocktail-lounge vibes and haunting Mellotron string segments on “Spider Lily”, and the results are majestic—a swirling, sophisticated arrangement that lands you anywhere but here. Incidentally, it works as a suitable synopsis of the Gentleman Losers’ far-reaching sophomore release.
// Notes from the Road
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