Open Up That Heart album review by Dust Star album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions

Lame-O Records

8.7

Dust Star

Open Up That Heart

“Cause I know that the love you give to me / Will have a price to pay,” Dust Star sing in their punkish growl on the Pixies’ like song “Miles Away.” In an album that they say is about working through the complications of relationships, the SUNY Purchase graduates, who have been parts of the indie-famed SIRS, Cende, and Porches, knock out a thirteen song album that is a mix of the Pixies and Teenage Fanclub, and even channels The Beach Boys at times.

It starts rough and rowdy on opening track, “Nothing in My Head,” one of the punkier, Pixier tracks on the album. It’s full speed ahead, but doesn’t prepare you for the super dynamic record to follow. Perhaps it is a right of passage, in a way. If you can’t take my hard side, you don’t deserve my softer side, kind of thing. The next song, the title track, is perhaps their most radio friendly, Teenage Fanclub-like song. “I get caught up in emotion / I feel so out of control / And I can’t understand why you’re waiting.”

As you’d imagine in an album about relationships, their hangups and their advantages, it is an emotionally charged album, with a lot beauty and its fair share of dissonance, fit for the album’s title. They “Feel It Without Trying,” and I think the melodies throughout are what you will feel and remember the most, though the adventurous guitars are a close second. Band founders, Cameron Wisch and Justin Jurgens share vocal duties, but their voices, whether screaming or singing, sound like they could be coming from one person, a good synergy for the rocking outfit. And the bouncy, melodic bass, by Oliver Hill, is just power pop perfection.

There are rough and cathartic tracks like, “Back To The Start,” (“I’m chewing on my tongue / Been grinding down my teeth”) and romantic poppier numbers, like “Can’t Stop Thinkin’ of You” (“Hoping to read between the lines / Caught up in the gleam of your eyes”). Between the harder and softer sides of the album, like Teenage Fanclub or the Pixies before them, is a perfectly replay able album.

Any song could be your favorite, depending how hard you like to shred. I tend to favor the softer songs, with their Beach Boys’ charm, though the combination with harder songs is what makes this a stand out album. I imagine this would be a killer live show, especially if you’ve spent your time with the album. They have a charm as well as a realism about them, a prickliness as well as a tenderness, which gets right to the feeling heart.

Order Open Up That Heart by Dust Star HERE