Dusky has been on a good streak lately; earlier this year, the London-based duo delivered a dizzying one-two combo in the form of its Flo Jam and Henry 85 EPs. Now, Dusky has reared back and prepared a third blow, Calling Me.
From the get-go, it's obvious that this record—which is also the inaugural release for Loefah's nascent School imprint—is not just a jab; comparing it to an unanticipated left hook would be more apt. First of all, it’s much darker and tougher than previous Dusky material; title track "Calling Me" begins slowly and retains some aspects of the sound the duo has become known for (namely, the melding of garage and house with ethereal R&B samples), but it shifts the listener's attention toward a new focal point in Dusky's music: the bass. The bass tones on this track—and the record as a whole—are rich, resonating above the mix with an almost elastic-sounding throb. This sound resurfaces on vinyl-only track "Muriel," a sweltering affair whose drums coalesce into a steady, club-worthy pulse that is ultimately subsumed by more sinewy low end.
Digital-only cut "What I Do" ventures into overt garage-house territory, which is perhaps the medium in which Dusky's sound works best. The overall formula doesn't differ much from the rest of the record's offerings, but the bass tones seem to growl just a bit more, demonstrating a certain bite that the other tracks, as good as they are, seem to lack. The caustic sound also provides a counterpoint to the wistful R&B sample and the light, airy piano keys that occasionally surface later on in the track.
Although Calling Me does not disappoint, it isn't perfect. Its tracks, which clock in at more than six minutes each, can sometimes drag on a bit. Additionally, Dusky isn't exactly doing anything new. Nevertheless, the sounds offered on Calling Me are highly enjoyable, and ultimately result in both an interesting direction for Dusky's output and a strong, solid debut for School Records.