Duke Special - Adventures In Gramophone: The Two EPs

Published Monday 21st November 2005
Duke Special - Adventures In Gramophone: The Two EPs
Duke Special - Adventures In Gramophone: The Two EPs

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13611-3516

Reviewed by Phil Thomson

This is an intelligent, beautifully honed work, thoughtfully constructed by the Irish songsmith once known as Booley (and before that Peter Wilson). On this the singer/pianist takes you on the most delicate of journeys inside yourself. The writing is intimate, at times wonderfully ambiguous and deeply personal; the delivery so un-self-conscious you will be held by every note, drawn in by every word. It's all message. The feeling is - if you get it, that's great; if you don't, that's okay too - here's the poetry, here's the beauty, pick it up later. The risk really has come off. Clever, intricate, well-paced (is it indie-pop?) with clear musical reference to the best sensibilities of a '60s release (I'm sure you've heard that sound before) yet mercifully free of the indulgence given to the genre during the '90s. The production (Eastbourne and Belfast) is clean and understated, with nothing rushed - just a quiet, insistent voice in mostly confessional mode. The haunting piano-led phrasing is economic enough to leave you waiting for something to happen - an excellent device, generating hunger for more with every track and the "ahs" and "ohs" harmonise in dream-like, almost couldn't-care-less ways that belie their strategic inference. Musically and lyrically inventive - Chip Bailey takes first credit for the cheese graters, whisks and wardrobe door, that's the kind of album it is - every song surprises in such a familiar way, you'll feel warm inside. Later, the truth will dawn. Pure delight.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Mark in Bradford @ 14:02 on Feb 28 2006

I've caught Duke's show a few times since first seeing him on the Aqualung tour, most recently on the David Ford tour. Tragically, I had to turn down the chance to support him at Joseph's Well in Leeds because my bass player was on holiday. This album is glorious and his live show even better. If Duke Special isn't a household name by the end of 2006, the world will be a lesser place.

Posted by Eliz in Bristol @ 23:13 on Nov 27 2005

Duke Special has just recently finished a tour with Christmas no 1 favourite’s Nizlopi and fellow Irish band Hal. I saw them Greenbelt 2005 playing both the performance Café & the main stage. Musically the album has a retro feel, not just 60's but one of the Victorian theatre era. (The performance had a definite element of the theatrics about it). The music brings a smile to the face but also touches the heart. Chip is awesome! Lyrically, there is comedy, sentiment, tragedy & hope. Freewheel, my favourite track is beautiful with the Dukes vocals so passionate and warm.

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