Album Review: Dukes – ‘Still Life’

Dukes 'Still Life'

I love it when bands that work hard are rewarded. Dukes are one of those bands. Winners of the MTV’s Kick-start competition they have cut their teeth touring and done it in style; they’ve toured with the likes of INXS, Gomez as well as NZ acts such as Th’Dudes and most recently the acoustic tour with Dave Dobbyn… these guys have done their time… and NOW is their time to shine.

The core of the band are Christchurch brothers Matt & Jo Barus and like other NZ musical siblings (Tim & Neil Finn, Jools and Lynda Topp & Hume Brothers of Evermore) there is a real ‘togetherness’ a real fun aspect to the album, and this sort of feeling only comes from years of jammin’ with each other and I would expect the odd sibling rivalry – something that would push for better and better sounds.

And that brings us to ‘Still Life’ the second full length album from Dukes, and it comes just as the sun is out and the BBQ’s are starting to crank… this is the perfect Sunshine album with some already well known songs like ‘Self-control’ ‘Time is a Train’ and of course the top 10 single ‘Vampires’.

This album combines the best of good kiwi summer music… great melodies, catchy tunes and a good dose of FUN.

You would have to say that this is the album for all summer occasions… ‘Paper Heart’, and ‘Secrets’ are the perfect album for a sleepy summers evening with good friends most likely over a nice wine or beer, while the beach waits for hits like ‘Ooh Ooh’ and ‘If I have No Heart’ that come pre-smoked and tasty and have that fresh sound of a kiwi sun drenched summer.

This album can roll with the best of Kiwi music past and present.

Imagine an album with the best parts of Dave Dobbyn, Crowded House and the Black Seeds and you’ll be pretty close to this summer’s Kiwi Summer album.

Soak it in people… better still… take a picture!

Album: 8/10

Dukes LIVE: 10/10 (Go see these guys live… rock ‘n’ roll!)

2 thoughts on “Album Review: Dukes – ‘Still Life’

  1. You know I am a huge fan….have been since the moment Matt lent me a demo cd years ago. I agree with your 10/10 rating for their LIVE performances. Seriously, if you get the chance, DO IT! They are so much fun…Jo makes me want to learn bass guitar it looks like he’s having so much fun. You forgot to mention their not so recent addition, L.A.Mitchell…shame on you Chris! Lauren has as much respect in the NZ music industry as a solo-artist as the Dukes do as a band….and deserves a mention. I had the pleasure of a small private performance at Addington Coffee Co-Op a few Saturdays ago. She blew me away, with some sweet nervous chatter between songs (she had recently opened for living legend Mr Lionel Richie and was more nervous now) before asking the band up to perform their acoustic style set. I know this is a review about the album, so should not sidetrack. This album was the soundtrack to our Summer, and my girls sing along with every song. If it was anyone else, it could drive me nuts, but hey, it’s the DUKES yeah baby!

    • Dom you are so right. L.A. Mitchell is one of Christchurch’s best kept secrets, with her sweet yet slightly husky tone. Her voice is enough to make any man’s knees go weak with her sultry jazz vibe.
      In saying that it’s the for-mentioned things that make her perfect for this rock band… it’s part of the integrity in the music that Dukes seem to be hunting for!

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