LA Priest, Gene (Domino)

The last we heard from mythological fringe creature Sam Dust He was dropping funktified stuff under the LA Priest avatar that, if you’re into that type of thing, was probably enjoyable but not really for those of us not trying to fake the freak funk. Fortunately, this one is much different. Apparently dude spent five years putting together an analogue drum machine dubbed “Gene”, and it was time well spent indeed. “Gene” the record is a much leaner, less compressed collection, easy going and fresh where the last one felt labored. Shimmering springtime opener “Beginning” sets the pace, and “What Moves” manages to be both supremely creepy and entirely fun, with a hook that never fully sets in and is all the better for it; it’s one of those tracks that withholds its own payoff to great effect. Never known for introspection, Dust gets close with “Rubber Sky” which floats on an air of heartworn confidence, a swaying love song that feels tossed off but still lands hard. The back half of the record are where things really get interesting, where the guitars vanish and the skeletal synths take over, where the sun sets and rainy nights take over. The tribal “Monochrome” sounds like nothing this man has attempted previously, campfire strumming with a Cali-cult hippie ambiance bleeding through every pore. At times it feels like Dust is gleefully sabotaging his own songs on this back half stretch, the disorienting echo on “Kissing The Weeds”, the pregnant pauses on “Black Smoke”, the sheet metal feedback on “Ain’t No Love Affair”. Still experimenting, still feral, ever-inscrutable, Sam Dust has done the seemingly impossible: released a true bastard album with no discernible precedents or influences.