It’s been almost two years since Ryan Gustafson performed his own songs with a full band. At the time, he was rolling with the Drughorse Collective, a mostly defunct collection of Triangle artists with a knack for reinvigorating classic pop and rock styles, and supporting his Donkey LP, a colorful assemblage of old-school rock, soul and folk unified by Gustafson’s emotionally devastating songwriting. It was a style that seemed certain to make Gustafson one of the area’s newest stars.

But it didn’t turn out that way. Gustafson drifted from writing songs and playing with a band, instead oping to support others and dabble with electronic composition. Lucky for local music fans, the hiatus wasn’t permanent. When Gustafson shows up to play tonight at Raleigh’s Tir na nOg, he’ll not only be joined by a band; he’ll also be offering a two-song cassingle (cover pictured above) with cuts from a brand-new full-length.

The album, called Desert and attributed to The Dead Tongues (the name of Gustafson’s current backing band), will be self-released on Feb. 9. From the Blonde on Blonde-inspired splendor of opener “Call Out to Me” to the windswept heartbreak of the re-appropriated title track, it’s a powerful collection that reaffirms his potent songwriting gifts and fits them to refined textures and arrangements. The single displays the album’s extremes, pairing the cosmic country swagger of “No Intentions” with “Sleep Talking,” a blissful psychedelic experiment that appears near the album’s end. Check out the full track list below:

The Dead Tongues

1. Call Out to Me
2. No Intentions
3. The Harbor
4. The Desert
5. Exit Song
6. Milestone
7. Hanging Fool
8. Depression
9. Sleep Talking
10. Silver Dove