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Review of the Dukes Of Kent LP in Ptolemaic Terrascope

(LP on Sugarbush Records

From the Terrascope Website: Click here.

Readers with long memories will no doubt recall me unreservedly recommending the countryfied jangly power-pop delights of The Silent's Blue's debut six-song LP 'Tune In' back in issue three of the Ptolemaic Terrascope in 1990. I'd long since finished writing for Bucketfull of Brains magazine by that stage and honestly can't remember whether they similarly endorsed the album, but I can't imagine it would have been awarded any accolade less than "record of the month" over there, as the band fit their oeuvre like a musical glove, guitarist Markus Holler even having done a stint with the Fortunate Sons at one time, whereupon he was replaced by former Flamin’ Groovy Chris Wilson. Which was about as close to sainthood as it’s possible to imagine round at Bucketfull HQ in the mid-eighties. I notice that latterday editor, Nick West, also gets a credit in the sleevenotes. It all starts to make sense.

Well, they're back - or at least Markus Holler most certainly is, along with Chris Gussman and Pablo Videla on drums plus Iain Rae on piano, the latter (Rae, not the piano) being ex-Gallagher & Lyle. Which says a great deal for the melodic musical fayre on offer here: nine tracks chock-full of chiming guitars, shimmering harmonies and West Coast licks with influences ranging from the Byrds through Crazy Horse to Tom Petty and Joe Walsh: a melting pot of pop,rock, psych and folk with great gobs of swirling guitar which will assuredly set feet tapping and shims shimmying, to lapse into engineering argot for a moment or two.
‘Limits of the Truth’ is one of my favourite cuts on the album, reminding me strongly of early Jackson Browne at the outset. It’s the start of a trio of great numbers: ‘When I needed You’ is a song worthy of the great Mr Saloman (the guitar work that closes ‘Every Day Brings Something new’ over on the flipside is similarly eloquent), and Side One’s closer ‘Blue Turns to Red’ is just beautifully constructed and performed - a song to be heard and remembered for long after the sun sets over the distant horizon....(abridged)

(Phil McMullen)

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