Duologue burst onto my ears earlier this year with the amazing music video for Memex which featured a laser scanned elderly lady showing all of her laughter and pain in her skin in hi definition. The bands second album “Never Get Lost” is an album that requires high-definition listening and actually Memex as a track is a bit left field of the albums main sound.
However it is the amazing low fi ambient dub rock track that opens the album. “Memex” is crumpled beats, warped vocals and dissonance reversed pianos slowly clambering over your soul and telling you secrets. It’s an amazing track and its electric guitar finale really queues up where the album heads into however before we get there “Correctress” pushes more towards the minimalistic dub beats and plays on lots of cute Rhodes pianos that distort over time. It’s the chorus that shines through the disorienting verses. It then all comes together for a strong ending that leads into “Forests” which has warped and mixed up Eastern plucked instruments that flick in and out over synths and marching squashed percussion. It’s the first time you really hear the vocalist of Duologue take control of the song. It is for me the standout track of the album and really showcases the keyboards, strings, production and vocals of the five piece band from London to its best.
“Sibling” continues to work with Duologue’s genre hopping tactic by starting off in synth rock and then breaking things into an old skool drum n bass middle eight and a bit of disco before returning to a post disco vibe for closing. Not bad for an emotional five-minute number with tons of instrumentation involved. It really is a work of art in places. “Traps” is also another stand out. It’s tight guitar work and skipping beat along with its catchy chorus really turns the generally mysterious vibe into a mini party. It’s one of the few tracks on the first half of the album that actually stays with its beat throughout. “All Night Shows” is more seedy and sultry than anything else until some more sinister synths start creeping in at half way and the track begins to get more spooky and b-movie like. It’s metallic edges throughout really work well and provide bite when the singing isn’t present.
“This is Happening” is another catchy track as the band start to veer away from art pop rock into more catchy moments with just as much substance. Duolgoues ability to work a seemingly understated chorus in and make it work wonders continues to show here and also in “Drag&Drop” which has a fantastic vocal hook as well as a strong chorus as the rockier elements of the band come out with a retro cool number. “Departures” returns to the piano based melancholy side of the album as the hazy dreams of the vocalist Tim surround him in some excellent instrumentation and production values. His voice is perfectly suited to this type of music and sits close to Tom Yorke. It is left for the most dramatic track “Parts of the Blame” to outro the album as waves of sirens wail through the chorus and a steady dance beat hints at a disco lite rock track in waiting that stays dark and on simmer until the chorus and the final third where everything breaks out for the only time in the album.
“Never Get Lost” is a difficult album initially to place but after a couple of listens it suddenly clicked with me. I was looking for arty rock and it wasn’t that, in fact – I struggle to call much of it proper rock at all. It’s a mishmash of 90’s alternative pop rock with modern-day electronica sense. It’s captivating and unique in its blend in many ways and I am glad I gave the album the chance to settle in. It’s here to stay now.