Tusks Tusks

On their debut EP, Toronto’s Tusks present finely crafted pop songs with an underlying angst. At some point, Julien Beillard (the Wooden Stars), Robin Buckley (Ben Gunning), Samir Khan (Kepler, Etaoin Shrdlu), and Shaw-Han Liem (Sea Snakes, I am Robot and Proud) have all added sugary melodies to their cups of black post-punk coffee. Following Khan’s lead, Tusks possess a furious energy, equally evident on ballad-leaning numbers drenched with lovely vocal harmonies as on the manly, musical release that super-charging rock anthems provide. Wilco hover within the imaginative structures of "Mothers vs. Sons” and "Calling on All Thieves,” the latter of which Khan coos with all the romantic authority of Elvis Costello. The orchestrated bang-and-crash of "The Grieving Game” and "Man’s Best Friends” recalls Girls Against Boys, in part because of their tension between grit and accessibility. In the end, Tusks execute well-honed, distinctive sounds brilliantly, with expert taste and brute spirit. (White Whale)