Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Thursday, 26 June 2014 10:50

Album review: The Duhks reform and set sail sail 'Beyond the Blue'

Album review: The Duhks reform and set sail sail 'Beyond the Blue'
Written by Glen Herbert

The Duhks
"Beyond the Blue"
Compass Records

When the Duhks first came on the scene in 2001 they were, right off the mark, as challenging as they were entertaining, and as infectious as they were affecting.

Jessee Harvey's voice was the band in a nutshell: soulful, though not typically so, and able to add depth to material that in other hands might be entirely unremarkable. The albums they made became essential expressions of the time and, on stage or on CD, they grabbed your attention and kept it.

And then it began to dissolve. There were regrettable personnel changes, and when Harvey left it felt like she took the point of the band with her. The group slowly receded from view. When at last their website noted an indefinite hiatus, it was easy to assume that it had vanished for good.

Which makes the release of this new album, "Beyond the Blue," such a welcome and surprising event. There is a new lineup, though the twin suns of the Duhks universe -- Harvey and Leonard Podolak -- are very happily back together again. The ensemble is still finding its legs, it should be said, and this album isn't as consistently authoritative or confident as some of the earlier material. At times the arrangements, such as "Burn" and "Suffer No Fools," rely too heavily on repetition and inflection to carry the piece. The song "Burn" in particular comes off as weak, as far as content and sentiment goes, which is that a lover wants his ex to, as the title suggests, burn. (Ho hum. Yes, I remember high school too.)

The production across the album feels rushed and uneven, as with the snare drum and horns on "These Dreams." On the other end of the spectrum, the production of "Je Pense á Toi" is wonderful, especially around the use of the percussion instruments to create a very lovely feel behind the layered vocals.

Still, the high points handily outnumber the low. The title track, "Beyond the Blue," is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. "Je Pense á Toi" is stated and reprised, both tracks becoming highlights, as does "Lazy John." If the use of horns and drums feels tentative elsewhere, the band makes up for it spades on "Just One Step Away."

If there are a few soft spots here and there, the band has nevertheless revived its ability to command attention. This album grabs you, takes you on a journey, and when it's over, it seems that the energy has gone out of the room. And it has.

Upcoming Concerts

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-crowd.jpg

KDHX Recommends

February
Thursday
11

Folk Song Sing-A-Long

Folk Song Sing-A-Long Presented in partnership with the Folk School of KDHX, weekly meetings will discuss and sing different periods of folk music.  Presented by St. Louis OASIS.


February
Thursday
11

Welcome To Our Movie: The Bottle Rockets Live & In Person

In 2009, a live show by iconic Midwestern rock band The Bottle Rockets was filmed with the intention of releasing it as a live concert DVD. As the footage moved through post-production, it transformed into a more ambitious project...


February
Friday
12

Folk and Roots Sessions: The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers

The Folk & Roots Sessions, a 10-concert series spanning August, 2015 to May, 2016, will bring you new folk, bluegrass, old-time, Americana or country. Each month the Folk & Roots Sessions will feature one concert we think you...


SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook