Duende!/ Murder Doesn't Hide The Truth (Bellyache, 2013)
I've never really gotten these guys (and gal), even though I lived next door to half of the band for years. I went and saw them live. My wife loved it. I didn't get it. That's not to say that I didn't like it, I just didn't get it. I couldn't figure out if they were too smart for me, if I wasn't hip enough, or if it simply wasn't my cup of tea. I didn't get it.
Having relocated my Fortress of Solitude to the suburbs last fall, I have as of late began feeling homesick for my urban Rock and Roll neighborhood. My old 'hood was a mixture of hipsters, gays, artistes, and musicians, all living and hanging out together. A real free exchange of ideas and attitudes without pretense. Only in my absence have I realized that this is exactly what Duende is. From 20 miles away, I finally get it. I could hit it with a rock before but couldn't see it, but now that it is out of reach I get it.
It's possible that Murder Doesn't Hide the Truth is a concept album. It's possible that it is a metaphor for my fair city of Detroit and a certain ex-mayor. It's also possible that it's just a collection of songs that fall under the umbrella of a clever title and a beautiful album cover. Whatever it is, it's amped-up country or Rockabilly with Punk Rock sensibilities. The DIY aesthetic combined with a search for the sound.
Finders Weep flows between garage Rock and sad country crooning. There's a lot of the bleak, sad country sound throughout the album, with Drinking With the Sad and Murder Doesn't Hide the Truth being the finest examples. This Land reminds me of a more bluegrass Exile On Main St.-era Stones. Bleed is my favorite song of of the album, all Tommy James and the Shondells with Smashing Pumpkins dynamics. There are interesting touches all over this album.
There are a lot of onion layers to peel off of this album, and I'm still working on it. I might even figure it all out someday.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This album was released on vinyl and as a digital download, standard operating procedure for independently released Rock music these days. This rant is not directed at Duende! or any other band to be honest with you, but a rant that has just so happens to be attached to this review.
Millennials hate CDs. I don't know why, but they do. Who doesn't enjoy the richer, fuller sound of digitally compressed files encoded on aluminum and sealed in plastic? Vinyl people talk about grooves and grams. I tend to romanticize 1s, 0s, and .s. Okay no, not really, but a format is a format is a format, and I feel that my friend the CD has been given the shaft. The ease of digital recording and lack of talent is what has killed modern popular music, but my friend the CD is the fall guy.
I like physical media. I'll grudgingly buy mp3s if it is something that I really want, but then I'll turn around and burn it right on CD. In your face! I like jewel boxes and digipacks, liner notes and booklets. These mp3s often don't even come with a digital booklet. Shoot, give me a few Jpegs. I'll make my own damn booklet. I feel like a second class citizen. I may be a square, but I have rights, man! I implore all bands to release their stuff on CD. Do it for the squares...and the children...and the children of the squares.
I understand that the reality why many bands only issue things on vinyl and mp3 is a financial issue. It doesn't make sense to press hundreds of CDs if the bulk of your fanbase buys vinyl. I get it...I just don't like it. Now excuse me, I have to finish making my protest signs:
CDs 4 SQUARES and on the flipside SQUARES ARE PEOPLE TOO!
What do we want! CDs! When do we want them! Whenever humanly possible! Okay, my chant still needs some work...