Monday, 13 June 2011
Herman Dune Album Review
I have been encased in a Herman Dune shaped bubble recently with this review to complete as well as an interview with the group followed up by a first hand account of their recent London show at XOYO in Old Street (to follow).
Strange Moosic is the 10th full length album from the current duo (although trio for this album recruiting bass player Ben Pleng). Like with some of their other albums, this one feels a little too long in places, mainly due to the average length of each track just pushing the 3 minute mark which in the classic pop sense seems perfect but due to the fact that a lot of the basic structures and melodies follow a similar pattern can in places get a bit samey and predictable.
The album starts with the lead single ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’ and it’s easy to see why this was chosen as both the single and opener, with its strong and catchy hook and instantly brain worm chorus it is an instant fan favourite as well as highlight of both this album and recent live sets. The video for this also features current man of the moment and star of ‘Mad Men’ Jon Hamm and is one I’m sure will be getting loads of airplay and MTV exposure. There are other high points throughout the album including the track ‘Lay Your Head on My Chest’ which shows a definite maturity in both the writing and overall production as well as the folkie ‘The Rock’ which again, is fitted with a strong melodic hook that will bury itself in both your brain and whistle for the weeks ahead after hearing it. ‘In The Long Run’ shows the country influence of the band with a snaking pedal steel part that brings new flavours to this collection.
Lyrically the album and individual tracks own themes are similar, with lost love and relationships being the main source of inspiration. However, on occasion throughout some of the Dylan-esque, play on words and rhymes are too obtuse and misfire under the pretence of the stream of consciousness and flowing poetry target.
Sometimes the quickest route is a straight line and less is more.
The album is executed very well and musically it’s very full and arranged so every instrument is playing their own integral part to the songs themselves rather than simply holding their end of the responsibility up and instead provide a strong anchored cradle for the songs themselves. The best example of this is probably the end track ‘Magician’, which shows the bands individual playing styles and live chops in their best light and itself is a welcome change of pace.
As a fan of the group I can see a progression and continuum from album to album. As extra members and contributors have come and gone along the way, and over the course of the bands own journey, Herman Dune have still managed to forge their own distinct sound and style. This album was created as a ‘trio album’ and although it hasn’t hindered them as a group, I think some of the songs would have benefited from more complexity in their overall final renditions and would have helped break up the running order a bit better rather than the shopping list hit and miss final representation we have here.
'originally on 405'
Posted by Chris Lancaster at 14:30