As the follow-up to the much acclaimed Mind Bomb LP, The The's sixth studio effort, Dusk, found Matt Johnson (and his varying crew of marauders) carving one of his most accomplished products to date. Dusk leaves behind the infected dance beats that served as the framework for many of his previous albums and replaces them with steamy acoustic-based rhythms that shimmer with red-orange warmth, while the guitar work of Johnny Marr adds a touch of otherworldliness, without which the record would have been left to stand alone on its strange blend of honky tonk gospel pop. Johnson's songs seem to be mostly uplifting tromps through standard subjects ranging from love to happiness to helpfulness -- while presented with over the top emotional grandeur ("Love Is Stronger Than Death," "Helpline Operator," and MTV "hit" "Dogs of Lust"). As quality reigns through these songs, the tempo can become overbearing and, to solve that issue, Johnson shifts gears on the B-side to include some partially downtrodden numbers ("Bluer Than Midnight," "Lung Shadows"). In the end, he points out (with an under-the-radar approach) that the songs and the major concept of the album are not so much rooted in the joy of love, but in the approaching darkness of loneliness and seclusion just around the corner.
AllMusic Review by Sam Samuelson