Duologue - Song & Dance (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
DUOLOGUE, by their own admission, aim to be the antithesis of pop music’s current disposable cultural impasse.
Hence, their debut album is an immersive experience intended to be absorbed and cherished with repeated listens, not to be heard once on laptop speakers and disregarded.
The London five-piece bond over a mixture of the best in electronica and guitar-based music, which draws from everyone from Radiohead (particularly vocally) to Muse via Bonobo, Mike Oldfield, Leftfield and countless more besides. And yet they have a style that is emphatically their own.
Hence, Song & Dance is all about diversity and toying with expectation. There are grand guitar moments, sweeping electronic arrangements, urgent and edgy dance tracks and sky-scraping epics.
On a track like Push It, for instance, there is a four-four dance beat giving structure to a hauntingly atmospheric six minute epic of lyrical self-doubt. This is augmented by soaring strings and guitar melodies that eventually swirl into a heady finale that really does envelope you in its conflicted euphoria.
In contrast, the sublime Underworld strips things down and offers the central refrain of “you think you really want it, you know that you don’t”… lead singer Tim Digby-Bell’s vocals sounding haunted and disconsolate. The synths that eventually kick in almost have a dark edge about them that recalls classic Depeche Mode touched with Radiohead, before giving rise to some melancholy piano and sad strings. It’s another firm highlight.
Endless Imitation retains the quality, hitting a slightly more warmer sound through its guitars and electronics, and finding more hope in the lyrics about lost love and personal recovery. It’s here, more than ever, the Radiohead comparisons become crystal clear.
But everywhere you listen, there’s something to admire. Album opener Machine Stop is a belting start, Cut And Run has some edgy guitar riffs, a cracking falsetto and some jagged, scintillating beats, and Gift Horse drops in some magnificent string arrangements that lend it a majestic cinematic sweep.
Elsewhere, Talkshop has some insistent, scuzzy electronic hooks, Sinner is as foreboding as the title suggests with some atmospheric electronics surging throughout and a vocal that veers into Talking Heads territory, and Constant finds Tim’s melismatic vocal style delicately accompanied by lilting guitar and a subtle back-beat.
There is the odd track that doesn’t work quite so well (Snap Out Of It being one of only a couple). But overall, this succeeds in achieving what it sets out to and duly impresses massively.
Download picks: Cut and Run, Gift Horse, Push It, Underworld, Constant