From the late 00s, we have enjoyed a wealth of new “alternative,” from Alvvays to Alt-J, James Blake to Bicep. These are the sounds that would have permeated airwaves and filled playlists during Emily Underhill’s formative years and have undoubtedly influenced the creation of her musical alias, Tusks. After being championed by a variety of tastemakers from early on in her career incarnation, there was an air of expectation surrounding her debut LP Dissolve, an ambitious and outward collection.

The album opens on the elegant R & B of ‘For You’, Brett Cox’s production adding tones of absolute luxury. Barely a song by conventional standards, this feels to be more an experimentation in sound as Emily layers icy percussion and a howling melody with no hint of urgency. Its part FKA Twigs, part Lapsley, an intriguing introduction to Underhill as an artist.

The following ‘False’ is far more immediate. Melodramatic guitar strings that would have sat pretty on The xx’s debut meet Emily’s pleading question “do you still believe in me?” This is high drama with a suitably epic soundtrack. Describing her sound as bittersweet, this summates the sadness of early cut ‘Ivy’; the lyrics are cutting yet comforting, due to the delicacy of Underhill’s delivery. You admire Emily’s ambitions to emulate her musical influences such as Bonobo and Explosions in the Sky, and in most cases she succeeds in paying worthy homage.

The best example is the chilling cover of Foals’ ‘London Thunder’ that closes Dissolve. The harsh masculine tones of Yannis have been replaced with Tusks’ own husky notes, a lone guitar string her only companion. She allows the track to breathe and the real emotional weight of the words “now the tables turn, it’s over” to be felt. ‘Paris’ is another a clear stand-out with its orchestral, almost-Agnes Obel, arrangements. Distorted, ominous vocal samples surround Tusks through the chorus; embrace her in the sparseness, she is warmed by the rich strings. It is ethereal, otherworldly and altogether gorgeous.

This album is not without flaws, three tracks were released on the False EP of last year, there’s one cover and an interlude on a 10-track album. Fortunately the age-old saying of quality over quantity is applicable to this exciting young artist. Dissolve’s title track is phenomenal, a devastating example of baroque pop combining the intimacy of Daughter with the emotional bombast of Jessie Ware. This is the finest example of Emily’s songwriting, a track that reflects the emotional turmoil she experienced as clearly as a finely polished piece of glass. This collection of tracks has been informed by the alternative of this decade so far, and with her own strong sense of self and determined production style, Tusks assures she will be the alternative that is yet to come.