8/3/08: The Dutchess And The Duke

She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke
Hardly Art Records
Release date: July 8, 2008
Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Sounds like: Nearly flawless blend of early Rolling Stones, acoustic The Beatles, a young Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen, and pitch-perfect male/female vocal harmonization

Longtime Seattle musicians Kimberley Morrison and Jesse Lortz score an unexpectedly major hit with their latest musical incarnation The Dutchess And The Duke. Channeling the finest aspects of mid-‘60s folk-rock, Morrison and Lortz come damn close to attaining perfection with their debut She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke. Opener “Reservoir Park” could be one of the strongest singles of 2008, with Mick Jagger’s youthful grit, jangly acoustic guitars, and flawless vocal harmonies grabbing hold of your ear within five seconds and refusing to let go. It's the kind of track that could define an entire genre. “Out Of Time” mixes the sunny simplicity of the early ‘60s with lyrics about pistols and “lying naked on the bathroom floor,” “Strangers” speeds along like any number of joyful early The Beatles’ singles, and “The Prisoner” luxuriates in psychedelic guitar lines and gypsy moans. Street-smart teenage innocence a la Eric Burdon and The Animals turns up on “Back To Me,” and the almost-literary “love you but got to leave you” ballad “Mary” could stand up next to any of Dylan or Cohen’s early work. The only weak link of She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke comes on the awkwardly tender “You Can Tell The Truth, Now” but when the slow-moving intro of “I Am Just A Ghost” gives way to the eerie vocal layers and rumbling guitars which conjure up otherworldly images, any misgivings about The Dutchess And The Duke vanish. This unassuming duo has kicked off the restrictive shackles of imitation, channeling the best aspects of early R & B and pop into a gripping, refreshingly honest link between all that is good in 2008 and all that was earth-shattering in 1963. Album closer “Armageddon Song” belies its apocalyptic name, wallowing instead in playfully optimistic bliss; technically adept key changes, enthusiastic hand claps, and soul-affirming sing-a-longs verify the genuinely American treasure The Dutchess And The Duke have created. If you've got any affinity for the powerful rock, folk, and pop that changed the musical world, buy this now.

Myspace: www.myspace.com/thedutchessandtheduke
Label: www.hardlyart.com/dutchess_duke.html
"Reservoir Park" mp3

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