Tusk : Alligator EP18.11.2016
Tusk is the recording name of Arron Hughes, who lives in Bethel (which sits between Bangor and Caernarfon, and is also home to Plu); Alligator is his first, and very promising, release. Taken as a whole the EP is eclectic in genre and its evident influences - musically it is the sound of someone carefully but confidently testing the directions they might go.
It is all good; opener Equinox is a first-rate electronic hewn sketch; later, Glass is similar in tone, but more ambient. Elevator and Permission have the expansiveness of the place Alun Gaffey has taken his solo career to - both are adept (funk) pop, the former subtler and more experimental, the latter especially vibrant.
But there are two real standouts. Mantra starts with chorused voices and features a free-flowing Welsh language vocal from Iwan Fôn (Y Reu) - it's a superb, slow paced alt. pop song. EP closer Tymhorau is a denser, heavier and a shade more complex track than its funk siblings - a cascading wall of electro pop with a mesmerising keyboard melody and searing guitar break. In its completeness it is this last piece which shows where Tusk might find an unrivalled niche - it is a quite majestic composition.
As a DIY debut the EP definitely showcases what Arron can produce - Alligator is twenty minutes crammed with intriguing and compelling music. An essential listen, not least for what might come next.
TUSK I Alligator EP