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Tusks – Gold (One Little Independent)

You awaken on an Alpen mountain. There appears to be some kind of angelic woman standing over you with a cool sponge, cleansing your soul as she washes you in a big white bathtub, with magnificent scenery all around you. No, this isn’t one of those interactive fiction games where you have to pick from several options what you want to do next, this is a spiritual awakening, brought on by the opening track of the fourth full-length album, Gold, by Emily Underhill, known professionally as Tusks. Aptly enough, its title is ‘Wake‘, so hopefully the imagery I painted is at least something close to what she was hoping to portray.

Comparisons levelled at Tusks have included London Grammar, and that’s certainly something that hits the ear on Gold, with a smattering of the beats you would have heard on DJ Shadow‘s classic 1996 album Endtroducing, especially on the gorgeous ‘Tainted Plates‘, while the lo-fi stakes of ‘Strangers‘ lies very much in the territory of The XX. Pigeonholing is not something I wish to do, however, as Underhill, for all her apparent influences, still has enough to set her apart from her contemporaries and stand out on her own. The latter track, in fact, after a while, takes on a new direction with a bit of 80s electro and even, perhaps, a tiny bit of shoegaze thrown in for good measure.

More of those muddy trip-hop beats pervade through the alluring “oh oh oh ohs” of the title track, and you realise, at this point, that there’s a clever juxtaposition between city life and rural retreat as a running theme. This was confirmed by Underhill herself when she said of Gold: “A lot of this album was inspired by contrasting experiences. Processing a breakup and then falling in love again. Being constantly surrounded by people in lockdown, then suddenly being completely alone and free. Being in the city vs being in nature.” To be able to convey this so effectively takes a major talent, and Underhill, most definitely, has pulled it off.

The ethereal vision of the angelic woman at the start of this review reappears and beckons you back to the big white bath for the finale, the epic ‘Cold Storm‘. Once again, you’re rejuvenated, as she stands you up in some kind of magical resurrection miracle – perhaps you were weak when she found you and nursed you back to well beyond full fitness – she’s a goddess, and she’s turned you into a god. But honestly though mate, you really ought to put some pants on now.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.