Filthy Dukes - Nonsense In The Dark (Universal)

16 Apr 2009

"it's the slower, tender moments that make this album, delving into the darker moods and feelings associated with a night out, painting a picture of real solitude..."; release - '09


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I always used to see dance music as a mysterious and powerful force that I could never fully comprehend. A whole parallel universe of voodoo people that were at home in seedy nightclubs; making the occasional appearance in day light hours as a blurry, misrepresentation of their true selves. There was something intriguing and truly exciting about never really being able to understand its dark magic.

Nowadays, even those original voodoo people have reformed to tame their once mighty creative energies, producing stale replicas of their former glory in a move that has all the hall marks of a fast buck. It's almost a prerequisite that for every successful pop record there must be a club friendly alternative dub-step remix to accompany it. Skream's latest take on La Roux's top ten debut 'In For The Kill' represents the pinnacle of such a trend.

So, with Filthy Dukes dubbed as the new Simian Mobile Disco and a fast growing back catalogue of said style remixes to boot, I didn't hold my breath. However, it didn't take long before my stubborn, prejudice viewpoints were duly challenged.

After an initial listen, I felt that the press release promise of an album 'bearing the faint echo of their collective influences' was a tad understated. The synths used on second track 'Elevator' are very reminiscent of 'The Model' and promo single 'Tupac Robot Club Rock' is a mere 3 syllables longer than a certain popular production by a duo just across the English Channel. But so what, a group that sound like classic Kraftwerk mixed with classic Daft Punk, with a sprinkling of Chemical Brothers thrown in for good measure, surely that sounds like something to embrace rather than complain about.

For me, the real gems on this album are locked away, far from the immediately obvious club records, only reachable after your second spin. Title track 'Nonsense In The Dark' is a beautiful free flowing composition that builds and builds with Orlando Week of the Maccabees providing the broken poetry. And the final track 'Somewhere At Sea' is both sinister and sombre with guest vocalist Mauro Remiddi running us through a tale of woe that entrances, confuses and touches you all at the same time. It's the slower, tender moments that make this album, delving into the darker moods and feelings associated with a night out, painting a picture of real solitude.

In retrospect, far from further taking away from modern dance music's seldom seen mystery, Filthy Dukes may well turn out to be one of the commercially viable groups that start to retain it.

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