the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Duke Fame
eclectic reviews and opinions
(Geeves Records, 2002)
I played Regrets on and off for a couple weeks, and now I can recognize all the tunes, and I still can't quite tell you why it doesn't click with me. The songs actually have melodies, if not terribly original or startling ones, the words are mostly not embarrassing (there is a "fire/higher" couplet though), and it's recorded pretty well -- somebody definitely spent some time getting guitar tones, but it's balanced; it doesn't have that guitar-to-the-exclusion-of-all-else syndrome.
They don't have a compelling lead singer and some of the backing vocals waver off-key, but then, that's true of some records I love. If I tried to compare Duke Fame to other artists, I might pick bands I like a lot. It's mid-tempo guitar-based rock, of an indie-by-default flavor -- y'know, not metal, not classic rock, not punk, not near bubble-gummy enough for power pop, twangy enough to be Americana, nor arch enough for brit-pop, so it must be indie, right? Most of the songs have guitar solos and massed wordless backing vocals. The bass is sometimes too busy and the drums are unimaginative. But, still, I don't know: maybe you'd love this; maybe I'm being unfair to something that's arguably pretty good. And maybe the lack of a strong vocalist and any real knock-out songs adds up to not-so-much.
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