Pretty much flawless
Review by Ian Savage
We pride ourselves at MR on stretching the boundaries of ‘Midlands’ to ludicrous extremes on occasion to bring you up-and-coming talent which we think you should wrap your ears around. If you go for the middle of the UK as a whole, York is surely there or thereabouts; it’s these frozen hinterlands that Modern Day Dukes call home.
Describing themselves as ‘Yorkshire genre-bending rascals’, the band is made up of sometime-served luminaries of the north-east’s rock scene and have been quietly bubbling away filling some pretty impressive support slots over the last year or so – third EP Happy Now? is their latest stab at rendering their high-energy live show onto record.
Within the first minute of the opener, the ‘genre-bending’ tag is making itself evident. A waltzing guitar intro fires into a double-kick riff-laden verse before the alternating harmonised / gang-chant chorus – the Backyard Babies jamming with Brides Of Destruction isn’t a bad point of reference. There’s a definite Wildhearts influence to the time-signature-changing middle section, too; if any of those bands push your musical buttons, you’d do well to check this lot out.
It’s a fair bet that Modern Day Dukes have had some nay-sayers over their tenure, if the lyrical content of the rest of the EP is anything to go by; let them say nay, frankly, if it inspires the outfit to come up with more metal-edged vitriolic punk rock like this. This reviewer certainly wouldn’t want to try dancing to some of the more out-there changes on offer for fear of looking like a rhythm-free zone against the band’s locked-in timing – there’s some beautifully intricate bass and drum interplay between the more-than-passable chorus hooks.
The production sadly isn’t 100% when stacked against ‘professional’ recordings, but as a display of musical intent and ability Happy Now? is pretty much flawless. Keeping as many influences up their sleeves as worn on them, this is both challenging and foot-tapping at the same time; a rare balance. Well worth a listen.
8 out of 10
- Thank God I’m Not Content
- Vanity Project
- Live And Die A Duke In Debt