Few artists have broken through into the dance big-leagues this year as quickly (and loudly) as Dusky. So far, the pair have managed to resist the destructive power of the hype machine, releasing hit after hit. Not content to rest on their laurels, the duo (Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman) close out the year with an unsurprisingly hot EP on Loefah’s freshly-minted School imprint.
Although their tunes have generally spanned the cleaner end of the dance spectrum from garage (with a bass twist) to deeper house constructions, on this EP the pair are looking deeper and darker, with muscular rhythms and dark details being substituted for their previous attention to vocal hooks and melodic nuance. This one’s all about the groove. It’s abundantly apparent on opener Calling Me, where a no-nonsense vocal gives way to a powerful 3-note bassline and a swung beat pattern that’s already been lighting up London dancefloors for the past few months.
The tunes on offer here are big, but Dusky have learnt to never go directly for the anthemic, and this can be seen as the EP continues with the similarly raw, propulsive B-side Muriel. This track is busier and more frenetic, another strong bassline belying a wider array of perfect atmospheric details and distorted vocal snippets. It all leads up to a sensational ambient breakdown that brings the anticipation up to fever pitch for that nagging bass loop to make its return. What I Do (a digital exclusive) rounds off the package without letting a weak link show, going even darker with a plaintive vocal begging ‘hold me’ over syncopated beats and an ever-present bass loop. This one also does something a little special at the breakdown, bright synths making their way into the equation and ramping up the tension. There’s no big anthem here for the casual listeners to seize onto, but Dusky are as on-form as ever on Calling Me, crafting a muscular three-pronged attack that’s sure to set bodies moving deep into the night.