For better or worse, it’s pretty hard to avoid this video if you’re at the gym in Sydney and stuck beneath a TV blaring Channel V: as scribbles of graffiti appear on superimposed bricks and clips of some manic movement, TV Rock’s mainstream dance-rock reinterpretation of Dukes of Windsor’s most idea-laden song, “The Others”, repeats and repeats. It’s great for this small-town electro-rock outfit that they’re getting such exposure, but it’s difficult to imagine America being quite as receptive. Beneath it all, these young musicians still have stars in their eyes: call it reprocessed U2 and AC/DC, done up in the faddy colours of dance-rock and lent the warbling vocals of a credible Luke Jenner imitator. Nothing on The Others, the group’s debut album, is that blatant—in fact, most of the time these songs ride a catchy line between sleazy synths and pop-punk. The songwriting’s pretty similar throughout—stomping uptempo rock, with simple 4/4 drums and snippets of radio-catchy chorus that slide off into edgy synth vamps. “The Others” is undoubtedly their best track, but it still feels like remix fodder more than a single in itself (maybe that’s just familiarity with the TV Rock version): the fragmentary ideas are dropped with youthful zest, but never fully explored musically. With groups like Shy Child making more stringent electro punk tunes danceable, and plenty of polished pop-punk vying for Year 12 anthem stakes at the other, Dukes of Windsor at times seem somewhat tame. Best thing about them is their youth, and from it comes their energy. Hey, that’s been enough for others before.
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// Notes from the Road
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