The only common thread running through Brooklyn's Drew Lustman's work thus far has been a mischievous sense of vaguely garage skip (cribbed equally from both sides of the pond) and a tendency to hop from one extreme to the other. Recent music for current home Planet Mu has shown him trying on templates for size, with last year's Phreqaflex and Endeavour EPs being exercises in classy 2-step and slow, swampy house respectively.
You Stand Uncertain was evidently, however, the result of a deliberate process to create an album, and it shows. It's the sound of Lustman delving deep and following one strand of his personality as far down as he can go. It sounds like he started with his remix of Oriol's "Coconut Coast" from last year, because the entire album is soaked in muggy, sweaty tropical tourism. It's a false, urban escapism caught somewhere in between Oriol's imagined paradise and the sweltering, melting concrete of Endeavour.
Lustman's chords and melodic accents—and these are definitely very melodically focused songs—seem to liquefy and pool around the drums, never quite solidifying or staying in one place. The heatstruck haze is a little hypnagogic (particularly the early one-two punch of "The Pacifist" and "Open Space"), and as it turns out, You Stand Uncertain finds itself perfectly at home in the midst of similarly nostalgic Planet Mu material from Solar Bears, Tropics and Boxcutter.
The album's cohesion manifests both in its songwriting and aesthetic, dusty and muffled as if sampled in its entirety from the remains of forgotten, half-melted records (and hey, I wouldn't put that past him). Cycling through patterns of skittering, interlocking drums and wonky chords, Uncertain peaks in its midsection. The title track suspends disjointed synths and wading drums over a relentless Reese bassline—classic jungle subjected to the album's depressive hallucinogens—which leads into the chunky hardcore of "Lucky Luciano," feigning that genre's alarmed chords with what sounds like samples from old library records. "Voyager" signals the album's farewell with a jazzy and loping boogie, and from there it heads into a three-song closing stretch of fix-up-look-sharp champagne garage. (It's a bit of a journey.)
Falty peppers his bout of single-mindedness with a few singers: the mechanically pieced-together soul of "Brazil" centres around a playful vocal from Funkystepz associate Lily Mackenzie, and the album opens with a glorious daydream courtesy of Anneka. These poppier moments put Lustman square into unfamiliar territory, but it turns out the verse-chorus-verse structure does wonders for his music. Put a little foundation in there and his weirdness pops out in more subtle ways. It's a wonderful surprise, You Stand Uncertain, where the true breadth of Lustman's unique talent is allowed to reveal itself over the course of a disciplined and honed concept rather than just spilling out excitedly in all directions.
Tracklist: FaltyDL - You Stand Uncertain01. Gospel of Opal feat. Anneka
02. The Pacifist
03. Open Space
04. Brazil feat. Lily McKenzie
05. Eight Eighteen Ten
06. It's All Good
07. You Stand Uncertain
08. Lucky Luciano
10. Tell Them Stories
11. Play With My Heart
12. Waited Patiently feat. Lily McKenzie
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