From the moment I am Duckeye had us Punching Dicks in 2013, the Australian quartet has been a devilish itch in unseen places leading to regular treatment of their riff loaded, highly mischievous rock ‘n’ roll. Across two albums and numerous singles, the band has whipped up a storm of bruising and invigorating sounds and eager bad habits. Now though, is the realisation that it was all merely the warm up act for the main show, Songs From The Gunt. The Melbourne quartet’s new album is simply in another league to its impressive and fiercely enjoyable predecessors. It is still a great menace of sex, dirty sex, and salacious revelry, but I Am Duckeye has truly come of age with their diverse and hungry sound in what will be one of the major highlights of the year.
Making their debut in 2008, I Am Duckeye first whipped up eager attention beyond their local borders with the Punching Dicks EP five years later. Already their home city had succumbed to the “comedy punk rock” which slips from the foursome of vocalist/guitarist brothers Sam and Matt Haycroft, bassist Jules, and drummer Sean as easily as the previous night’s curry, the morning after a drunken rampage. 2013 also saw the band’s debut album, Husband unleashed to increasing acclaim and rapture, though that was eclipsed in turn by its successor Commando Too the following year. As Songs From The Gunt, each album has been a successful crowd funded venture and the bringing of heavier and more voracious intent and sound from the band, which their third album continues. This time though, it sees them dive into a thicker tapestry of styles and flavours, unlock a bolshier arsenal of riffs and rhythms, and involve ears in moments of sheer licentious brilliance.
The anthemic intensity of Sex Fight gets the party flying, the song an immediate wall of spicy grooves and rapacious riffs driven by the roar of vocals alongside senses scything rhythms. It is instant evidence of the step up in heavyweight confrontation and antagonism fuelling the band’s sound but also of the diversity. The virulent grooves tempt with a funk bred devilment whilst the twists of infectious incitement is as punk as you could wish. Additional steps into melodic caresses and atmospheric deceits just reveal the new depth of a creative imagination which you feel has always been within the band but is now being shared with bold adventurousness amidst their instincts to rock and raise a meaty grin or two.
The outstanding start is more than backed by both Hectic and Hot Nuts. The first immediately swamps ears in a noise rock spiral of nagging; vocals bronco riding the tempest before things dive into another romping punk ‘n’ roll canter. Like a mix of The Fat Dukes Of Fuck and Melvins, the track relentlessly ignites ears and appetite, raising the depth of bait again when slipping into a tar thick sludgy prowl with the ever involving lure of the Haycroft led vocals. The song is glorious, repeating its cycle to greater effect across its body before allowing its successor to parade its punk rock seed loaded wares. Keenly weaving in strains of hard rock too, the guitars relishing the chance to flirt with sonic enterprise, the bundle of sweaty energy hits the spot dead centre.
The Binternet swings in with flirtatious hips next, its surrounding sonic shimmer wearing a post punk meets psyche rock sheen around the great agitation of Sean’s percussive skills. Lyrically cutting, even though delivered with usual mischief, the song tantalises and fascinates whilst again employing a clutch of varying spices to its muscular rock ‘n’ roll; a design emulated again in the enthralling rumble of Wide On. As much garage punk as it is heavy rock, as much punk as it is alternative metal, the track canters through ears like an attitude inflamed stallion on the persistent and contagious gallops of Sean’s rhythms; they in turn aligned to the predatory and anthemic lure of Jules’ fingers.
The grungy rock ‘n’ roll of Papsmear the Clown increasingly pleases as it leads to the psychotic majesty of Ben outta Ten. Here early surf rock hooks are quickly twisted and distorted into a fiery blaze which in turn sparks a ferocious assault of heavy rock which is kind of like Mastodon meets Triggerman. Mid-way though, the song suddenly loses its already loose sanity and evaporates into a sonic dissonance lined breeze with haunting touches to confuse and thrill thoughts further. As good as it is though, the track is soon forgotten as The Quickening emerges from its distant fog. A hilarious and mesmeric embracing of the Highlander films; the track drifts through ears and into the imagination with a folkish/progressive ambience around a military toned rhythmic skeleton draped in a Celtic lacing. As grooves emerge with intoxicating spicing, the track becomes more imposing and volatile, gripping attention tighter as it unpredictably twists into a swing loaded shuffle, which in turn breaks into an insatiable punk romp and so on…
Fart of the Year break the momentary calm that lays between songs with carnivorous riffs and a general rapacity to its grouchy rock ‘n’ roll whilst Uncle Reg growls and prowls from the great grizzly lead of Jules’ bass. Sam and Matt of course only build on that bait with their own debasing string spawned enterprise, casting an unrelenting nagging of the senses and the by now seriously greedy appetite for the release. The track is another major high in the lofty heights breached by each and every song so far, a trend only continuing as Clean Snap swings and swerves with seriously spicy grooves around a crunching parade of rhythmic and riff spawned dexterity. As throughout Songs From The Gunt, for all the impressive and new invention and imagination in songs, they are all at the heart pure instincts gripping rock ‘n’ roll very few can say no to.
The rousing show tune quality of Pish Paste is surely deserving of gracing a theatre somewhere, though hard to see it being on Broadway. It easily whips up a storm in pleasure and physical involvement leaving exhaustion in its wake to meet closing track Pledgends, a full-on heavy rock thank you and a ”passing of the blame” to all those helping the album come to light.
Songs From The Gunt is simply superb; as suggested I Am Duckeye hitting a new plateau in songwriting and sound without losing the reason we all flocked to them initially; raucous fun, irrepressible mischief, and brazen naughtiness.
Songs From The Gunt is released March 4th digitally and on CD and 12” green or clear vinyl @ https://iamduckeye.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-the-gunt
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Pete RingMaster 01/03/2016
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