steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Duke Fame

"Regrets" CD

Geeves Records

Genres: college rock, alternative, indie rock

e-mail the band

Aug 12 - 25 2002

Regrets' cover depicts a male toddler making out with a female doll. I'm not sure what this says about the music, but I'm thinking that it suggests some sort of Blink 182-esque comedy rock. You know, something light and fun but devoid of content - a musical Twinkie, per se. Well, once again, I am wrong. Duke Fame's music is actually semi-serious melodic rock, with more than a few punk influences.
Songs like "Hunger" and "Most Days" are irresistibly catchy pop numbers, the latter of which shows a slight Tom Walsh resemblance. Meanwhile, the title-track and "The Day I Shaved My Head" are pop-punk-tinged upbeat rockers that would probably settle pretty well on the mainstream scene. And then, of course, there's the obligatory love songs - "Thinking of You" and "Sad But Beautiful", and while both are pleasant, the latter is the album's closer, and just may be the CD's best track. It combines rocking, powerful instrumentation with very catchy vocal melodies to wonderful effect.

While Duke Fame's style is by no means the most original of all, they do add some innovation to the field with a few of their more inspired tracks. While they lean closer to the mainstream than they do to the indie circuit, scenesters may learn to like them simply because their music is so wonderfully catchy. And not just that, their style feels cool. This is the type of stuff that actually deserves to be on the mainstream, because of both its quality and its workmanship.

Considering Duke Fame named themselves after the band that Spinal Tap called "total no-talent sod", they've done well. Nice.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 42 min 10 sec; 12 tracks; distributed by the band; released 2002]