Thursday, 16 April 2009

'Duke Pandemonium', Marmaduke Duke

Marmaduke Duke is the side project of Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro (The Atmosphere) and J P Reid from Sucioperro (The Dragon), and their first album The Magnificent Duke was a mad conceptual screamo-meets-noise-rock 18-track explosion of sound. Even if you decided to give up trying to dissect the album for its various 'concepts', it was a musical masterpiece which left you feeling bemused, emotionally tired and mildly enlightened.

On first listening, Duke Pandemonium could have been made by a different band to The Magnificent Duke. It is electronic synth-and-drum-machine-based pop, but it's amazing. I listened to it first on the bus, finding it hard to control my shocked facial expressions, especially in the breathtaking, muted soaring guitars in Erotic Robotic, and during the very weird Skin The Mofo Alive, in which there is every type of percussion you can dream of, including tropical drums and...spoons? I can definitely hear pots and pans being hit elsewhere. Tracks like Skin The Mofo Alive border on parody, though what it would be a parody of, I do not know; this is by no means a bad thing. In fact, it's genius.

This is what side projects should be like. In Plato's world of ideals, this would be the archetypal side project. It's exciting, always changing; all of the Biffy and Sucioperro ideas that were just too daft or mad to use have been rolled together to make this, and skilfully. Highlights include the seven minute extravaganza Pandemonium, sexy and lyrically amusing Erotic Robotic, and the ridiculous but sublime Je Suis Un Funky Homme. Anything here could be a dancefloor classic, but each track deserves more listening to that.

Have I ever heard anything like it before? No way. Is it too daft? Maybe for some. Do I like daft music? Hell yeah. Marmaduke put the 'mental' back into experimental.


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