Friday, May 01, 2009

Nonsense In The Dark - Filthy Dukes

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Trumpeting the fact that you've recorded your debut album on the mixing desk of producer and Krautrock legend Conny Plank (as the story goes on the very same desk that Kraftwerk used in their heyday) not only gives reviewers a nice little hook to place their coats on (guilty as charged) but it also gives you certain preconceptions about the album before you even put it in the machine for a spin.

Indeed it's almost as if DJ's Tim Lawson and Olly Dixon, the men behind Filthy Dukes, are pushing this as the main reason why you might want to investigate this album. And whilst it goes without saying that this certainly doesn't live up to Kraftwerk (after all, what could?) it does have it's moments.

As you listen to the opening track This Rhythm you might be convinced that you are really onto a winner. Featuring guest vocals from Samuel Dust (Late Of The Pier) it's a foot stomper that simultaneously takes you back to the Electro 80's yet sounds utterly of the moment. Sadly it's not a trick that they pull off too many times on the rest of the album.

The likes of Light Skips Cross Heart (which sounds like a Depeche Mode out-take, but in a good way) and Twenty Six Hundred certainly hit the spot but far too often Filthy Dukes mis-fire. That the instrumental Twenty Six Hundred is one of the best tracks highlights one particular problem with the album; the lyrics are often ponderous and clumsy and whilst few would ever suggest that the success of dance music hinges on its lyrics, when you go to such lengths to create something that tries to appeal to the head as well as your feet anything that falls short is going to cast a shadow on proceedings.

Nonsense In The Dark is by no means a terrible album, and it has just about enough highlights to keep you interested, but neither is it a great one. In fact the one overriding feeling it gives you is one that being great DJ's doesn't always mean you are going to deliver a great record.

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