The Independent: The Duke & The King

Friday, 24th July 2009

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This rootsy debut from The Duke & The King takes its own sweet time in ruminating on the past, which I suppose is only right and proper. Named after the pair of grifter conmen in The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, The Duke & The King are, respectively, Felice Brothers drummer/ singer Simone Felice and former George Clinton accomplice Robert "Chicken" Burke, who clearly harbour a lingering affection for an earlier era when, as they put it in "One More American Song", "our jeans were torn... and the music sewed us together". It's an album obsessed with memory, from the admonition to remember old friends in "If You Ever Get Famous", to the recollections in "Union Street" of being "a regular boy in the Reagan time". And with memory comes guilt and recrimination, tackled head-on in tracks like "I've Been Bad" and "The Morning I Get To Hell". Save for the haunting, country-soul-styled "Suzanne", Felice takes most lead vocals, while the duo swaddle their songs in subdued arrangements that would have sat well among the Laurel Canyon balladeers of Asylum Records: acoustic guitars, pianos, and restrained rhythms, sewn together with subtle detailing, warm harmonies, and a peaceful easy feeling.Download this: 'One More American Song', 'Suzanne', 'If You Ever Get Famous', 'Still Remember Love'- Andy Gill