The Lassie Foundation / Duraluxe: I Duel Sioux and the Ale of Saturn
This is a split CD featuring what would have been a "side" on a cassette or vinyl LP each devoted to different, but similar and not unrelated bands.
I reviewed Pacifico, an earlier release by The Lassie Foundation, last year and found it promising but flawed. I said I hoped to see where they went from there. Unfortunately, according to the publicity sheet supplied with this album, where they have gone is their separate ways. Which is kind of sad. I mean, it's not like they were going to knock Jennifer Lopez off the top of the charts any time soon . . . more's the pity . . . but there was definite potential there. What they lacked they lacked not in the sense that they didn't have it at all, but that they didn't have enough: Structure. More interesting progressions. Smarter lyrics. Their final songs here are not utterly charmless, but unlikely to settle in the crevices of your mind.
I can't really fault the music making, but both bands had/have a bit further to go as songwriters to be really emotionally engaging. Their material sounds a bit too much like rough, fuzzy ideas for songs rather than songs themselves.
Duraluxe, then, take the crown from them in the flawed but promising sweepstakes. As I said, the two are not dissimilar. What we've got here is a couple of rock bands who sound as though they were brought up listening to Abbey Road era Beatles and Heroes era Bowie, with a little Blue Swede and even Boston thrown in. In other words, '70s, '70s, '70s, harmonies, hard-edged guitars and artificial sweetener filled melodies. Only a Casio sounding drum machine makes you think this material was recorded any later than, say, 1974 -- it makes it sound as though the material was recorded in 1981. Which might be fine if it were 1981, but then again, it might not -- neither band is exactly Bowie or even the Human League.