It’s always unfortunate when a good band dissipates. Duster was quite the to-do back when they were relevant and reverent, but the band’s drummer Jason Albertini (the current bass player for Built To Spill) rose like the indie-rock-phoenix he is out of Duster’s, well, dust, with a new project worthy of as much praise as his former. The beginnings of Helvetia date all the way back to 2005 or so. With almost two hands worth of albums released over the years, the longest “hiatus” for the group was the three year period between 2012’s highly touted Nothing In Rambling and their brand new release Dromomania. Much like the actual definition of the word, Dromomania wanders and travels almost aimlessly between different stylings and pleasantly awkward sounds, with the album as a whole still sounding surprisingly concordant.
Saying it’s a surprise may be somewhat of a stretch, as all of Dromomania is tinged with both psych-rock elements and a ’90s era college radio vibe, at times vaguely and oftentimes extremely. It’s the quickness to which Albertini switches the delivery that throws all the loops. Opener “Bermuda” calls to many a Beatles’ track, while “See Saw Sow” sounds like a Kevin Drew cut and “Olaf” could’ve been Battles’ “Atlas” part two. Let alone the blatant Pavement-ness of closing track “Feeling the Warm Hair.”
Comparisons and obvious influences aside, Dromomania stands alone as a solid and original piece of work. The deluxe version of the LP comes with 12 bonus tracks of Jason Albertini’s particular expertise. Of the additional songs, “We are the Vegetables” stands out the most for its overt slow-core tendencies that Duster made so much of their own. The album is much reminiscent of all the aforementioned, but really more kindred to doing psychedelics with an episode of “I Love the 90’s” playing in the background.