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Album Review: Duologue – Never Get Lost

 
By on Wednesday, 10th September 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

This week sees the release of London band Duologue‘s second album. Their 2012 debut ‘Song & Dance’ featured the epic ‘Cut and Run’ and the wholly mesmerising ‘Machine Stop’, so the question was always going to be, in what direction would the band going to go for album #2? Even having listened to ‘Never Get Lost’ a couple times, I’m still not sure myself, as the songs contained within it vary from track to track in tempo and mood. The best description I can come up with so far is that like some of Broken Bells‘ music, it sounds like Duologue were trying to make a record that sounded like it had come from another world or at the very least by seriously unconventional means, which I realise could be take either as a compliment or insult, depending on the company.

The two early teasers from the band this summer were certainly intriguing. The suitably electronic geek-titled ‘Drag & Drop’ shows off singer Tim Digby-Bell’s soulful yet at times nearly desperate vocals, while the glitchy wub wub wubs and big beats go on as if in indifference to his emotions. It’s pretty brilliant. ‘Forests’, which we gave away in mid-June in this previous MP3 of the Day post, features a catchy, shuffling electronic rhythm that draws you in. Important to note are Digby-Bell’s expansive vocals in its chorus, in addition to the overall feel of the song, is much gentler than those of ‘Drag & Drop’. But what of the other tracks on ‘Never Get Lost’?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFrdG-ZPVLQ[/youtube]

The album begins rather darkly and in a brooding way with ‘Memex’. The electronics are minimised on this track, presumably to invite the listener in slowly but surely into the world that Duologue has woven so carefully. Shortly after the 3 and a half minute mark, the song is thrown into urgency, as electronics essentially take over the album. ‘This is Happening’, with its sardonic synth line and its all-pervading sinisterness, it is one of the album’s standouts as a memorable slow groove. Whoever decided to place ‘Drag & Drop’ after it deserves a gold star, as the pair of songs sound perfect one after another.

Going back to that alien feeling, ‘All Night Shows’ in the middle of the LP is the most otherworldly of the bunch. If you’re an electro head, I can see you digging this. I couldn’t imagine myself listening to it often, only when I was in the mood, but I can appreciate the effort. But for anyone else, I suspect it sounds overdone, overwrought and over the top and in some ways, entirely inhuman as it squeaks and squeals its way to its end. Rhythmically engaging ‘Traps’ also falls into this alien music category. Contrast these songs with the album’s last two tracks and most of ‘Departures’ and the first third of ‘Parts of the Blame’, which showcase more conventional pop songwriting structures. Are we still listening to the same album?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itQZe2X4izs[/youtube]

The schizophrenic ‘Siblings’ is a good example of where this album falls flat: it’s admirable with its many layers of textures but nevertheless, it lacks focus. For sure, there are some great electronic beat heights and some truly wonderful moments on ‘Never Get Lost’. But if one looks at the sum of its parts, it feels like this album might have done better with a case of less is more. Any electronic artist will tell you the most difficult part of creating music is self-editing.

7/10

Duologue’s second album ‘Never Get Lost’ is out now on Wild Game Records.

 

Video of the Moment #1622: Duologue

 
By on Tuesday, 9th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

London band Duologue released their second album ‘Never Get Lost’ this week, and here is the promo video for the first song on the album. ‘Memex’ is a soft, contemplative number, taking full advantage of frontman Tim Digby-Bell’s oft ethereal singing style and pairing it with a dramatic, not to mention beautiful study of the human body as the song slowly burns towards an electro-flavoured climax. Watch the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFrdG-ZPVLQ[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1583: Duologue

 
By on Thursday, 24th July 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

London five-piece Duologue are gearing up to release their next album ‘Never Get Lost’ on the 8th of September. Also on the same day, they’ll be releasing single ‘Drag and Drop’, which has an unusual bird-themed yet techie promo, as you will see below.

Get another track from the album, ‘Forests’, for free from this previous MP3 of the Day post.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBc6QAN2JS4[/youtube]

 

MP3 of the Day #842: Duologue

 
By on Thursday, 10th July 2014 at 10:00 am
 

It’s been a bit of a busy week for mp3s on TGTF and this Thursday morning, we’ve got one for you from London’s Duologue. Listen to their new track ‘Forests’ below, and if you like it, visit their Web site and grab the song for free in exchange for your email address. ‘Never Get Lost’, their new album, is due out on the 8th of September and will include this song.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orGf1Ibq0fQ[/youtube]

 

MP3(s) of the Day #803: Duologue

 
By on Tuesday, 17th December 2013 at 10:00 am
 

For a limited time, technically, you can nab Duologue‘s debut album ‘Song and Dance’ from Noisetrade for free here. However, I strongly encourage you to “give a tip” if you can afford to, because we all know how hard bands work to make their albums. Leaving this ball in your court now…

 

Live Review: Duologue with Wild Swim at London XOYO – 25th September 2013

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd October 2013 at 5:00 pm
 

With its rugged industrial charm and labyrinthine layout, XOYO has rightly garnered a reputation as something of a factory for fresh musical talent; churning out bands that, although by no means identikit, have all the fundamentals in place to become an integral component in the wider music scene. And, so it was that the night’s bill featured a final prototype in Wild Swim; innovative, raw and full of potential, alongside the second generation invention of Duologue, who tweaked their original design by performing a first set with string quartet in tow.

Wild Swim, a distinctly dapper denomination in today’s free-wheeling synth-pop realm of psychedelia, kicked off proceedings with the nostalgia of ‘I Know Where My Home Is’. Funk-laden bass lines underpinned the enigmatic stagemanship of Richard Sansom in a style reminiscent of New Order, belying their tender age and status as one of tomorrow’s hottest tickets. One form of‘80s stylisation gave way to another as the Oxfordian five piece took on a new romantic edge for their as yet unreleased track ‘Solace’. Here, the BPM received a real boost while the synth and keyboard was bought to the fore to mingle, in a distinctly Spandau Ballet fashion, with world music drums and a soaring vocal line.

A band’s true character emerges when, after months of rehearsals, something completely unexpected doesn’t quite go their way. So, as the feedback reached wince inducing pitch at the start of ‘Echo’, it was reassuring to see all five members stoically proceed through such a delicate, spacey number. The intro – a stripped back, nuanced affair to match the accompanying video – dropped into a perfectly executed timing change that kept the track on in the ascendency. Next, the band’s third single ‘New Dawn’ (set for release on the 21st of October) took a heavier approach, with powerful guitar chords, tribal drums and atonal vocal harmonies.

Although regularly compared to former fellow Oxford residents Foals (seemingly for that reason alone), ‘Deer Song’, with its neat harmonies and wholly danceable rhythm, was the first time that such a claim had been evident. A climactic number with so many aspects that it rarely repeated itself, Sansom declared that although they are still writing their first album, this track will make the final cut. Wild Swim’s final track of the night, ‘Too Late’, has also made the grade. The bass/vocal intro gave way to a deep groove and accomplished vocal melody that left the crowd in no doubt as to why the chatter around these boys is getting louder.

Later on, and to a now bursting room lit only in a UV glow, experimental five piece Duologue were given a rapturous welcome as they prepared to deliver a schooling in originality and vision. Through a fog of ominous bass sounds, accompanied by frontman Tim Digby-Bell taking a violin bow to his SG in honour of the band’s new string compatriots, came the shuddering bionic mass of ‘Machine Stop’, the opening track from their debut album ‘Song & Dance’. A pulsating broken beat over lofty vocal harmonies, everything about Duologue’s first track spoke of alienation in a hollow new world of connectivity.

Stood in almost total darkness, illuminated only by a flickering band of amorphous barcode, the band’s next number ‘Get Out While You Can’ was similarly atmospheric. Electronic gadgets, in life as in music, made the basics easier, enabling Duologue to focus their spare attention on finding another level. The synthesised beat kept things suspiciously tight, while the vocal looping and cheeky dubstep wobble bought them from an aurally analogue, to a digital world. The string quartet was subtly introduced on the suitably gothic ‘Underworld’, a mournfully dystopian track with a typically IDM beat and clever call-and-response vocal melody.

By now it was clear that although all the aspects of their sound fed into the same overall picture, there were subtleties to each track that made Duologue satisfyingly difficult to pigeonhole. ‘Constant’ was an indicator that the troupe could probably best be pinned to the hazy locality of post-‘Kid A’ Radiohead or, perhaps even more so, Thom Yorke’s solo Atoms for Peace material. ‘Talk Shop’ greatly lifted the pace of the set, and was somehow more accessible, if not lacking slightly in the technicality that had been exhibited so far. The room darkened again; the barcode reappeared and began to fold into a ball made of scratched lines as the band played on into ‘Gift Horse’, accompanied by a scuttling synth rattle and a burgeoning string section.

Both ‘Zeros’ and ‘Cut & Run’ were raw with an abrasive layer of feedback. After the latter, the lights went up (by little more than a watt), causing the illusion to go on temporary hiatus as the puppet masters were revealed. The pounding beat of Duologue’s final track, ‘Push It’, was mirrored by clapping and chanting from the clamouring crowd, who moved in a style more reminiscent of a rave than a gig. By now the barcode has morphed again into a billowing tapestry that folded and weaved into itself, as the industrial beat grew to a mighty closing crescendo.

Although the distance between the two bands was vast in terms of their influences, fan base and current career progression, what they both showed was that invention is having somewhat of a resurgence in music today. In booking bands with the understated pedigree of Duologue and Wild Swim, XOYO proved that their industrial model is not stuck in the age of mass production, but has rather diversified into the 3D printed tomorrow of customisable commodities.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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