All entries for Thursday 28 April 2005

April 28, 2005

Marmaduke Duke Review

4 out of 5 stars

Much mystery shrouds this release, with the Dragon and the Atmosphere (as they are named in the accompanying booklet) collaborating in a truly bizarre project. The essential aim was to portray the Marmaduke Duke, and his schizophrenic personality, musically. With this in mind, the album is made up of three parts: “Explodes”, “Implodes” and “Corrodes”, although they run one after another in sets of three through the eighteen tracks rather than being separated out.

It is thus better to treat the ‘moods’ separately. The album opens with The Red and The Number; a track that “Explodes” aptly describes. This part of the album is very heavy and bass-orientated. If you don’t like screaming, you may not appreciate all of it, but I find that the singers strike a nice balance between full on screaming and melody. A lot of these tracks even make you wonder if this is meant to be a punk album, with their brash rhythms and fast pace.

The “Implodes” tracks strike a very different note, with their gentle melodies floating lightly through the album giving a nice rest between the more intense inclusions. Although a couple of them can seem slightly repetitive at times, the shortness of all the tracks (only three manage to scrape their way above the three-minute mark) means that they will generally be over before you have a chance to be tired of them.

The final style from the album is perhaps the most challenging, straying from your more traditional songs and bordering on progressive soundscape but with a very dark, dense feel to them. Overall, they do a good job of making you feel that something is indeed corroding. Unfortunately, many of these tracks are quite similar, although this does add to the feeling of going round in circles that the album seems designed to provoke.

Overall the album is a fantastic listen. It changes mood quickly and leaves you in a spin, even though you know what to expect from the next track. Naming standout tracks is a waste of time, as it isn’t the individual track that counts, but the whole. And as a whole, it is excellent.

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