Dystt – DYSTT
Eager to listen to the goth sounds of Central America? Let's open up this coffin!
“Die young. To be a saint, a suicidal!” Those are the words that echo throughout the second tune—my favorite one—in the tracklist of Costa Rica’s Dysst’s self-titled (although in all caps, ’cause you have to come out swinging) debut EP, released on November 24th, 2019, a few months after their first single, Paranoia. And what a nice debut this is!
I found this hidden Central American gem through the classic and always fun, always troubling, No Wave Facebook group, in a thread where people shared No Wave-inspired music (stretching the term as far as they could, as usual) in Spanish or from Latin America. I, myself, shared some cool stuff from Chile, like Bom & Los Gritos and Madre Culebra, that I encourage you to check out.
However, Dystt immediately caught my attention (and that’s why we are here). First, because of the pop colours and stylish looks of the cover, something more related to New Wave than anything else. Secondly, because of the music itself, of course, and more specifically how it contrasted with it. That’s what got me in. So, what did these five girls hide in the throbbing insides of these four somberly veiled songs?
I look at myself in the mirror
I am an entity of evil
Each word is like slowly spoken by a corpse and each chord is as if strummed by a whispering ghoul: viscous, gooey. Both languid and ecstatic, lugubrious and glamorous, darkly charming, grimly attractive. A sticky dust filled dance floor with dizzy feet marching on, like the spectre of a drunk horse running, almost falling, on an empty, forgotten track field. It might get old for some, we’re stepping into what seems to be the same ancient cathedral of post-punk and its past glories, but these infectious gothic images kept on fiercely coming as I was listening. I couldn’t help it. From the melting reverberations of “Bacillus”, the chorus-driven opener, to the gloomy and dissonant “Paula Maxa”, the closer and one of the strongest pieces on the EP, the album has an upbeat clinging energy that’s really hard to miss. A bit over eleven minutes, this stroll through a mist cemetery does not drag on for too long and feels just long enough for your tiny ringing eardrums.
The strings and little details from the keyboard are mixed with the molten sounds of the hazy guitars and the shaky, dancing rhythm of the bass, galloping along the tight drums and constantly pumping to give this goth punk release a wide, large sound that keeps on rumbling, one track after the other. Sitting comfortably between the waves, the babbling vocals tremble, spitting ominous, anxious lyrics that accumulate, one word on top of the next, weighing on our shoulders as we listen. The music moves across a place I think we all have been to. It makes me think of a slowed down Rule of Thirds, a more concise and direct Rakta or a more polished, less experimental Noche Tras Noche. Not better nor worse, Dystt have their own way of retelling old stories from the crypts of ’80s punk music, something, I know for sure, many people reading this enjoy.
If COVID-19 and the pandemic got you down, which seems to be the general case, this might not lift you up and give you a shining ray of glittering hope. I’m sorry, you’ll maybe need to find something else. But if you still want to go on, know that this set of songs will accompany you as you sink deep into your thoughts and that’s always more than welcome. There’s no need to ask for anything else. Just knowing that we can keep going on is OK, even if we’re not sure whether we are going to a better place. Maybe we’re trapped, but we do what we can with what we have. Certainly Dystt do. So give this EP a listen and you might end up feeling the same way.
You can order a precious pink crystal clear tape or two through Violence Records (there are only 100 copies available and they come with a nice bonus track!) on Facebook and also contact the band at their email [email protected]