Disheveled Cuss - "Disheveled Cuss" | Album Review
by Fritz Ortman on Post-Trash
Nick Reinhart is one of the only guitar heroes we have left. As innovation in guitar playing wanes and every possible niche of rock music gets its revival, Reinhart continues to be on the forefront of the art. His idiosyncratic playing style and full embrace of all that music technology can offer has made him a standout artist, even in the technically demanding genres that his music normally falls into. From his own excellent band Tera Melos, his collaborations with Mike Watt, Nels Cline, and Greg Saunier in Big Walnuts Yonder, to his arresting guitar work on Death Grips’ “Jenny Death,” Reinhart is one of the most inventive guitarists of his generation.
After all of this innovation, it is curious that Reinhart decided to make a “normal rock songs band” as he called it in an Instagram post last October. Disheveled Cuss’ Bandcamp describes the project as “somewhere in-between early Weezer and Teenage Fanclub with a heavy 90's indie rock influence.” Within that latter category I count the more obvious Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Nirvana, Pixies, Pavement, as well as the less obvious twee pop like Dear Nora as major influences to the sound of this album. While on its face this project may seem to be one in a slew of many solid but sedentary 90s revival albums, Reinhart cannot help but be himself. His unique guitar style spills over the surface at every moment possible. This transforms Disheveled Cuss from one of unexamined nostalgia to one which recontextualizes nostalgia into a memory that distorts and decays as time goes on.
For the most part, Reinhart is faithful to the sonics of the 90s, albeit with a more modern production style. The album is rife with power chords, detuned chorus pedals, stacked overdrives, and heavy layers of fuzz. Reinhart sprinkles in some vintage sounding synth and briefly a twinkling piano on “Don’t Paint the Sun.” He maintains his soft, often doubled vocal style he’s used throughout Tera Melos and it lends itself perfectly to the style. On “She Don’t Want” and “Nu Complication” Reinhart indulges in sweet, poppy vocal melodies which evoke the Pacific Northwest scene of the 90s. Within those confines however, he injects a style distinctly his own, plucking the listener right out of the wave of 90s nostalgia and into their current world, one where they have to deal with the day to day stressors that plague adulthood. Nowhere is this clearer than on the song “Oh My God” where Reinhart’s demonic pitch shifted vocal says “give up” in every verse. On the chorus of “She Don’t Want,” he pairs the characteristic 90s falsetto with an offbeat chord turnaround that robs the listener of the power pop bliss of a Weezer chorus.
On this album, Reinhart leans into his most accessible work yet. Parallel to Disheveled Cuss, Reinhart has begun performing and recording under Acid Fab, an IDM project that is easily his most arcane. If his recent output is any indicator, he will only grow more adventurous and schismatic with his projects.