Dude York - Sincerely

by D R Pautsch Rating:7 Release Date:2017-02-24

Having two vocalists in a group can be a blessing and a curse. Some use them as harmonies and enhance the sound. Others alternate the vocalists, this can allow bands to have different approaches to songs and create different sounds that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It allows for scope and opportunity that otherwise wouldn’t be available. However, for the listener it can be a patchy experience, particularly when the vocalists sound very different. It’s difficult not to have a preference for one over the other.

Dude York chose this approach after their first album when they added Claire England to the line-up. So if you are not prepared for this change up, their third album is a mildly diverting affair for the first half until England turns up on Tonight. Where there was pop/rock before a more spikey, heady and funky approach is taken. The chorus of crashing guitars and drums brings an urgency and sense of purpose that was lacking before. Then what happens is that rarest of things on the modern album. A stronger second half than first half. Think about all the albums you love. How many have actually been better in the second half than the first? Very few, if any.

Paralyzed kicks off this run of form with almost punk style and vocalist Richards sounds vibrant and alive like he didn’t on previous songs. Giving Up is a semi acoustic number that almost starts like a ballad but is one of the rare numbers where you can hear both vocalists and it turns into a more forceful workout than it started off being. The slow swagger of Love Is builds slowly and whilst its infatuated girl lyrics won’t be to everybody’s taste, it’s got enough proto-Paramore in its approach to forgive any shortcomings. The two spoken word pieces that are title tracks, Sincerely and Sincerely 2, do nothing but slow any momentum though. Answer phone/captured sound that just seem pointless to the listener.

What all of this leaves is a paradox of an album. One that grows in its duration and its repeated plays, yet wears thin at the same time. This is because if you are a fan of one approach over the other you’ll get frustrated and ultimately end up hitting the skip button. The patchy first half is a shame, for what comes later delivers much that it doesn’t promise.

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