A beguiling symbiosis of machine grooves and sweat slathered rock, The Others, the debut album from Australia’s Dukes of Windsor, is the sort of record one could quite easily imagine bearing the DFS tag. The opening salvo of tracks is particularly engaging, heavy hitters to the fore it seems they want to secure an early surrender of our affections.
Combining splintered percussion with homicidally charging guitars, ‘You Scream’ is a short, sharp, shock of a song. Still, it is merely a shot across our bows, for the following song is the real devastator. Built around an insatiably grooving melody and Jack Weaving’s curiously high-pitched, almost castrati-like, vocal, title track_ ‘The Others’_ was Dukes of Windsor’s homeland breakthrough. It is a conspicuously successful reconciling of dance and rock, the synth rising like steam to enfold the guitars, the drums pounding in the wilderness and that vocal, like some celestial deity, spitting disdain from on high.
‘Handsome Man’ is all about the guitars, chords bundled together to create some alarmingly twisted rock hooks. The lyrics are similarly distorted, impressionistic, words and phrases daubed here and there, creating something definite, even if it’s lacking a narrative core. Sometimes it’s simply about evoking an emotion._ ‘A La Na Na Na’ _is abrasive, channelling rage and expressions of violence into the chorus, delaying gratification before the moment of demented release.
In keeping with the album title, there is a distinct outsider theme to certain tracks, the Dukes of Windsor bristling against perceived alienation. Note the clattering electro-rock of ‘Kings of Sound’ and its promise that_ “they won’t hold us down”. Love does intrude on proceedings, but its guise is invariably distorted or deviant. Brooding synth provides a suitably malevolent backdrop to the voyeuristic utterances of ‘The Pretty Girls’, whilst elsewhere ‘Lover Now’ provides a cruel kiss-off, callous lines such as “You’re tainted flesh” _used to taunt the formerly beloved.
Given what has gone before, ‘Boy Inside The Radio’ _seem utterly incongruous. Saccharine and self-pitying, the moping vocal only serves to stir disgust, it is a serious misstep. The following brace manage to claw back some of that cheaply surrendered credibility, the final blow-out of _‘The Children of Tomorrow’ provides delights aplenty, guitars splaying obscene, percussion throbbing hot and heavy and the vocal pleading like a man on death row.
Dukes of Windsor may tread a well-trodden path, but they do with a certain élan, ensuring that the dance-rock journey of The Others, even if familiar, is frequently exhilarating.
7Francis Jones's Score