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- Burning Daylight by King Dude
8/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 30 October 2012
I missed the boat on this awesomely-named fella’s first album but the single which preceded this new one was great so I’m pretty pleased to see that this LP’s in the office now. Really cool artwork too - foil-stamped sleeve and on the inner sleeve a picture of what I assume must be Mr Dude himself with robes and a full head mask with holes cut out for his eyes and nose. TJ Cowgill is King Dude’s real name and on this album he’s not only written all the songs and played all the instruments but he’s only recorded the ruddy thing too! It makes sense upon hearing the album, though, since the weird recording style is integral to the sound of this record - like Sparklehorse before him, Cowgill has a knack for writing a beautiful song and then taking the liberty of sabotaging it with some kind of stuttering, partially-obscured weirdness.
This doesn’t sound like Sparklehorse though. It’s dramatic, sometimes murky, Americana-flecked crooning, sometimes in a low Nick Cave-esque rasp, elsewhere heading into more Suicidey territory. All the lyrics are bleak and heavy, all heartbreak and fire and brimstone...the resemblance to Cave is more than passing on various occasions here, although the almost anarchic selectively-muddy production style saves him from sailing too close to pastiche.
The textures keep changing, after an atmospheric intro there’s an almost KVB-meets-Dirty Beaches-esque lo-fi murk, then ‘Barbara Anne’ is a clean country lament with a fairly straight delivery, and then ‘I’m Cold’ drops us into percussive chain gang lo-fi with a bit of a Tom Waitsy feel. The overall impression, though, is one of blackened American spirituals with a canny knack for lo-fi production and a love for reverb and echo which drags him quite strikingly into the landscape of haunted weirdness that’s everywhere nowadays.
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