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Marmaduke Duke - Duke Pandemonium

Marmaduke Duke, LP

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

MARMADUKE Duke is the self-created surreal musical world of enigmatic Scottish duo The Atmosphere and The Dragon, two frontmen better known as Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro and JP Reid of Sucioperro. It’s odd, wonderful and as hit-and-miss as such a creation suggests.

Described by the duo as their vision of a hedonistic and aberrant disco-party, it boasts a mixture of styles – some of them radio-friendly and some of them much, much darker.

A taster of what to expect has already come from hit singles Kid Gloves and Rubber Lover… both of which represent the best side of the LP.

Kid Gloves, in particular, is a catchy number that displays a strong sense of melody in its sing-along chorus (“are we crazy or are we blind?”), as well as a breezy synth line that lends it easy disco appeal.

Rubber Lover, meanwhile, cleverly infuses the kinky sexual undertones of a love song for a prosthetic doll with a sample from Billy Joel. It’s a twisted slice of dirty pop that’s provocative without being too risque, and indicative of Marmaduke Duke’s desire to provide something a little different in the mainstream.

Thereafter, there’s still plenty to admire. Heartburn is a strong album opener that thrives on a kick-ass back beat and a filthy electronic stomp. It gets things rolling in confidently upbeat fashion and makes sure they have your attention.

The seven-minute plus dirty rock epic that is Demon provides the peak of the album’s ambition and doesn’t fluff its lines. The guitar riffs are dark, but funky, while the electronic flourishes are even darker and create a wonderfully warped atmosphere in which the Duke’s strained, layered vocals thrive.

Je Suis Un Funky Homme is as European and funky as its name suggests and offers a lively workout for anyone’s libido, while final track Skin The Mofo brings things to a suitably X-rated finale with a vaguely calypso feel – not to mention a downright alarming “skin the motherfucker alive” vocal loop in a style that’s even more sinister than Vincent Prince’s Thriller cameo for Michael Jackson.

It’s the sort of closing track that guarantees you won’t forget Marmaduke Duke’s album easily.

And while some tracks, such as Everybody Dance and Erotic Robotic, don’t quite repeat the magic of the LP’s best tracks (and sound pretty bland by comparison), this double act have done enough to ensure that you’ll remember them fondly… and even kinkily for some time afterwards.

Download picks: Rubber Lover, Kid Gloves, Heartburn, Skin The Mofo

Track listing:

  1. Heartburn
  2. Everybody Dance
  3. Silhouettes
  4. Music Show
  5. Kid Gloves
  6. Demon
  7. Erotic Robotic
  8. Je Suis un Funky Homme
  9. Rubber Lover
  10. Skin The Mofo