Lee Ranaldo and the Dust – Last Night on Earth

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ranaldocdHaving released an engaging solo record with 2012’s Between The Time And The Tides, Lee Ranaldo and company toured heavily, gelled, record a new disk, and added a moniker. The now titled Lee Ranaldo and The Dust four piece (Steve Shelley, Alan Licht, Tim Luntzel) have stretched out with songs routinely running seven plus minutes dipping in an out of tempos and styles.

The confident opener “Lecce, Leaving” has a winning mix of 70’s arena rock, folk tinges, breakdowns and spacey excursion. That is the pattern repeated often here as those different elements and likes from the groups collective past get an airing, from the harpsichord of “Late Descent #2” to the layers of guitar interplay on the sprawling “By The Window”. The group dynamic is textured, smooth (even in noise) and professional if never awe-inspiring, challenging or shaggy and that is really the only complaint, the band seems to stay in one safe gear.

The eleven plus minute “Blackt Out” plays with rambling feedback but doesn’t induce much memory when it wraps up. That said the pure prettiness of “Home Chds”, “The Rising Tide” and the title track show that this band knows their path; excellently nuanced guitar rock.

The third ex-Sonic Youth release of 2013 and one can’t help but wonder if all three parts were combined would things have soared or sunk? Take the pop-tinged swelling of Last Night On Earth, the punky energy of Chelsea Light Moving and the angular noise of Body/Head’s Coming Apart and you can almost hear that album, almost.

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