Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Duels: The Bright Lights & What I Should Have Learned
Yorkshire’s heirs to the Kaisers’ crown, just without the pop irony
Well, principally, to keep their mucky paws out of Britpop’s grave. Instead, Duels head straight to the source: on giddy delights ‘Potential Futures’ and ‘Animal’ singer Jon Foulger warbles like Bowie’s Ritalin-crazed tiny sibling, over his brother Jim (guitars) and cousin Katherine’s (keyboards) glam-pop backing. They’ve also mastered the art of the grand pop song – from sugar-rush jitter-rock (‘Pressure On You’) to wistful keyboard-driven croons (‘Taxi Song’). But it’s ‘Slow Build’, the album’s diamond-encrusted centre piece, that’s the key moment. Opening as a nondescript strum, it morphes into a gem of gloriously heartfelt Ziggy-style splendour, making it the perfect soundtrack to Duels’ ascent from the indie gutter.
Above all though, Duels have learned how to cast off the millstone of being “the Kaisers’ new favourite band” by doing what their bezzie mates can’t: writing sparkling glam-pop without a hint of irony or tongue-in-cheek humour. Bet Ricky’s secretly jealous, y’know.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album