The Duke & the King - Long Live the Duke & the King

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6.5 Release Date:2010-09-27

How much you know about this band and its members will have a bearing on how much you like their second album. For those who know Simone Felice from the Felice Brothers it will feel like something of a legitimate, but overall deflating, new band. For everyone else this will be one of the albums of the year.

Long Live the Duke & the King takes the country bumpkin side of Simone Felice and rubs it together with the two soul figures in order to create some country-soul. The results are mixed. When each member takes the lion share of the work the results are quite pleasing, but the constant way in which unnaturally echoing vocals burst to the fore can be very off putting and annoying. Instead of country-soul, the majority of the tracks end up as a country-soul sound. With that said, 'Shaky' is a wonderful feel good number, and on 'No Easy Way Out' Simi Stone takes to the plate and finally hits a country-soul sound which the album has clearly been striving for. It's a simple formula and with more time to hone it you would expect this band to win even more hearts. An album with a slow and warm feel such as this one has surely means its prime listening time should be on summer evenings, but its release date may have come a little late this side of the pond. This means there is less sympathy from a listener who is stuck with rain and autumn leaves at their feet.

As stated at the start of this review, your knowledge of the band and its members' past endeavours will undoubtedly shape your feelings. The grit and dirt of the Felice Brothers is nowhere in sight but Simone's poetry is still evident and his new friends certainly make for something different.

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