Drummer and experimental pop musician Jeremy Gustin, who records under the moniker The Ah, will release his sophomore solo record on Friday, January 31. Mere Husk builds 12 tracks around a variety of sounds that Gustin warps and bends into dreamy and eerie barely-pop songs, yet despite its experimental nature, the music remains surprisingly accessible in its infectious rhythms and melodies.
Mere Husk winds its way through twelve quirky tracks as Gustin compiles crisp drums with animal noises and various other found audio clips to create a wonderfully strange record. Yet despite the fact that few songs feature vocals and many songs are an abstract take on pop music, the album as a whole is remarkably melodic. According to Gustin, this is intentional.
“I love songs and melody,” Gustin said. “As much as I like unusual stuff, I’m a song guy at heart.”
Still, Mere Husk is incredibly intricate, and the album features an impossible number of moving parts. “Pepper Pupil” begins the record with a prominent drum track, several fun electronic melodies and a lack of vocals, and though it is not a typical pop track, the song is both characteristic of the album and wonderfully catchy. The few songs that do feature vocals (a dystopian speak-singing on “The Factory Girl” or a muffled voice on “Frozen Teeth” and “Just Relief”) are equally avant-garde; that is to say that Gustin does not sacrifice any strangeness in favor of incorporating voices.
Perhaps the highlight of the album is “Watermelon Tears,” one of the first singles from the record. “Watermelon Tears” opens with layered synth sounds and a steadily driving drum beat, and as the song progresses, Gustin adds in new, shimmering melodies on top of the pre-existing ones, making the music increasingly complex. Yet near the middle of the song, all melody drops out in favor of the drums and a collection of distorted laughter from what sounds like people, babies and animals. It creates a bit of an eerie effect, yet the laughter fits well with Mere Husk, especially when the song returns to its intricate electronic melodies as normal, providing a neat segue into the rest of the album.
Mere Husk is a wonderfully weird, winding experimental and electronic album, and its release coincides with the release of Foundscapes, Gustin’s upcoming book of photography, which will be available on February 1. A limited number of book and album bundles are available online.
Mere Husk will be available on all musical platforms on Friday, January 31, but until then, pre-order the album and listen to the first few singles via Bandcamp below.