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Filthy Dukes - Nonsense In The Dark

Filthy Dukes, Nonsense In The Dark

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HATS off to the Filthy Dukes. Their debut album is not only a star-studded effort, it’s also an unqualified success.

First off, an introduction… Filthy Dukes started life as DJ duo Tim Lawton and Olly Dixon who, in tandem with running their Kill Em All club at the Barfly and Fabric (where Bloc Party, Justice and Shy Child played some of their earliest gigs), they spun their “electroacidhousenuravetwisteddiscopunkfunk” DJ sets for Mylo, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem and played stages at Glastonbury and Bestival.

Given the acclaim surrounding them, and their remix capabilities for the likes of The Maccabees, Lawton and Dixon decided to form Filthy Dukes and put together their own album, albeit with a little vocal help from the likes of The Maccabees, Late of the Pier and Plastic Little!

The result is an album of electro pop that channels the energy of everyone from Kraftwerk to Daft Punk via the likes of MGMT, The Chemical Brothers and even some indie stalwarts. And while it may take a couple of listens to properly appreciate, Nonsense In The Dark is really rather brilliant.

Album opener This Rhythm lays down the duo’s credentials from the outset, laying down a fierce slice of droid-hop that’s almost techno in style, and augmenting it with a vocal from Late of the Pier. It’s unfussy, direct and really quite catchy – you should be dancing in no time!

Elevator feels like a mix of Pet Shop Boys and the Human League, but in a good way, while What Happens Next? is giddy disco pop, albeit with one of the least successful vocals on the LP (from Foreign Islands).

But keep patient… for the album is just about to kick into gear. You Better Stop is a funky foot-shuffle back into droid pop territory that picks up the quality, and Messages, featuring Tommy Sparks, is a riot of electro energy that builds towards a cracking chorus. It’s cheesy, but knowingly so… and it works.

The Daft Punk-styled former hit single Tupac Robot Club Rock then drops one of the LP’s undoubted highlights, before Orlando Weeks, of The Maccabees, lends his vocals to another instant classic, Nonsense In The Dark, an epic slice of indie-influenced electronica that’s utterly enchanting.

It’s about this point, in fact, that you realise you’ve been totally won over… in spite of any initial scepticism.

Thereafter, Filthy Dukes don’t disappoint. Cul-De-Sac is an instrumental that sounds like Jean Michel Jarre has called in for a cup of tea and a jamming session, Light Skips Across Heart channels the energy of Vangelis’ Blade Runner score, and Don’t Fall Softly combines some poppy electronica with a fine guest vocal from Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis (recalling ’80s Bowie).

Poison The Ivy offers another grand ’80s nostalgia trip, before Somewhere At Sea rounds off the album in exemplary fashion – providing a chilled out comedown track that utterly sweeps you off your feet.

Filthy Dukes may have labelled their album a whole lot of Nonsense In The Dark… but you’ll be wanting to take them very seriously after you hear it!

*Download picks”: This Rhythm, Messages, Tupac Robot Club Rock, Nonsense In The Dark, Cul-De-Sac, Somewhere At Sea

Track listing:

  1. This Rhythm – Feat. Samuel Dust
  2. Elevator-Feat. To My Boy
  3. What Happens Next? – Feat. Foreign Islands
  4. You Better Stop
  5. Messages-Feat. Tommy Sparks
  6. Tupac Robot Club Rock – Feat. Plastic Little
  7. Nonsense In The Dark – Feat. Orlando Weeks
  8. Cul De Sac
  9. Absolute Body Control – Feat. Tim Lawton
  10. Don’t Fall Softly – Feat. Brandon Curtis
  11. Twenty Six Hundred
  12. Poison The Ivy – Feat. frYars
  13. Somewhere At Sea – Feat. Mauro Rimmidi