Marmaduke Duke- Duke Pandemonium (2009) 14th Floor Records, by Adam

Posted: September 5, 2009 by Adam in Album Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Duke Pandemonium Duke Pandemonium is the second album in the trilogy planned by Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) and JP Reid (Sucioperro), otherwise known as Marmaduke Duke. The story behind the band goes that a friend of theirs brought some manuscripts back to the UK and the albums are a three part soundtrack to the stories contained within the text. So far the band has given us The Magnificent Duke and the current release Duke Pandemonium. The trilogy will culminate in a final song called The Death of the Duke, which the band already claims to be working on.

I should probably start by saying that I am not really a fan of either Biffy Clyro or Sucioperro; I never really bought into the hype surrounding them. In fact I seem to remember being informed by several old school fans that Biffy have recently ‘gone a bit shit’ since they released Puzzle. I have even seen Biffy live and that didn’t do much to change my mind, I’m not a fan of being stuck in a room of spotty maladjusted teenagers trying to mosh.

I don’t think I would have picked up the album at all had I not heard Zane Lowe tout the first single, Rubber Lover, as his hottest single in the world right now. I have to say that I agree with the general opinion that Zane has sold out by pretty much liking everything now. Conversations with him probably go a little like this….

Blue Air: Zane here is a new band you have never heard of, what do you think?

Zane: Amazing

BA: Really? I haven’t even played it yet

Zane: I would say that this is my hottest single of the week in the world right now

BA: Say ima

Zane: ima

BA: Say tool

Zane: Tool

BA: Now say them together

Zane: Ima tool

BA: (shaking head) Gimp

Duke Pandemonium is a little bit LCD Soundsystem, a little bit Head Automatica and a little bit Sing Fang Bous (if you don’t know who they are look them up, God!), there is even a bit of Biffy too.  The opener Heartburn sounds somewhere between TV on the Radio and Animal Collective, it’s full of punchy drums, random clicks and buzzes and minimalist vocals. The rest of the album cracks on at a fair pace and all of the songs do tend to bleed into each other, and occasionally you do catch yourself thinking ‘Have I already listened to that?’ The first couple of tracks are solid, a good example being Everybody Dance, with funky guitars and sing-along vocals abound. However the last four tracks of the album starting with Erotic Robotic are the real attraction. They’re catchy, strange and wonderful all at the same time; they never let you down, twisting and turning to take new directions all the time but they never lose the sense of disorganised fun which defines the album.

In conclusion I would say that Rubber Lover, Erotic Robotic, Je suis un funky home and Skin the Mofo Alive are the real standouts on this alternative summer album. There is a definite lack of real star quality to lift this album above some of the other big albums this year, mainly it suffers from being a tad chaotic in places and one or two of the songs are definite stragglers. In retrospect Duke Pandemonium might have worked better as an EP of about 5-6 songs.

3.5/5

If you liked this you may also like: LCD Soundsystem, Head Automatica, Dirty Projectors, Sin Fang Bous

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