With his third album ‘Health’, C Duncan has managed to transform his sound yet again whilst still sounding completely like only his does. It’s quite a talent to do. After his soft rock ‘Architect’ and dreamy but darker synth electronica of ‘The Midnight Sun’, ‘Health’ is like a bossa-nova seaside rock album. It feels very British and very retro cool.
The opener is the punchy ‘Talk, Talk, Talk’ where the happy seaside bossa nova drums and synths pluck away at you. C Duncan’s whispy voice floats around you even when it is layered to the hilt. The dramatic string arrangement then harks back to the ’50s and 60’s era of pop-rock but with a disco feel to it. It’s an infectious feel and it reaches its peak with the excellent single ‘Impossible’. The starry waltzing ballad of ‘Wrong Side of the Door’ sandwiches them. It reminds me of the last dances you get at British birthday parties. It’s tape warped synths have a slight hint of sinister to them too which gives the track a hidden creepy feel.
‘Health’ is a much more uptempo album compared to C Duncan’s previous works and I really appreciate it. He can weave some fantastic electronica. Highlights include the dark rolling title track with its epic piano unfurling riff, the jazzy coffee club feel of ‘Blase’ which is smooth as butter and my personal favourite ‘Pulses and Rain’. The latter track has an excellent clicky beat to it and a rotating synth pattern that goes much faster than the vocals do. The whole track feels like a slow-
Outside of these tracks C Duncan settles more on the lighter side of rock. The lush guitars of ‘Holiday Home’ and ‘Somebody Else’s Home’ have just as much in common with R’n’B and soul than rock. C Duncan’s voice really helps with that thought process because of how silky smooth and airy it is. ‘Stuck Here With You’ then begins the closure of the album with a smooth jazz pop anthem that utilises that voice perfectly. The ending is a coo-ing anthem for the suave. Disco time fades for the closing track ‘Care’. It’s gospel hymn style is a lovely warming touch. I have no idea how many voices are in play (nor how many are actually just him) but it is a beautiful closing track.
‘Health’ really took me by surprise. It’s bursting full of life and the subtle nuances of how C Duncan creates sound have moved from a fuzzy mesh from the last album to emboldened statements of intent. The sleeper hit of 2019? Quite possibly!
Recommended track: Impossible
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