The Dutchess and The Duke – Sunset/Sunrise [Album Review]

by Woody on November 4, 2009

dutchess and the duke

In describing The Dutchess and The Duke, a Seattle-based duo of Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison, my descriptions always begins with “you could add some of their tunes on a ’60’s mix of Newport performances and nobody would blink an eye.” But while their sound might be rooted in 60’s folk and early Stones albums, the band expands into new territory to create their own sound.

I really enjoyed their debut, She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke, but wondered how they could follow up without having it sound the same. Jesse Lortz had this to say:

This record was written for the studio. This record was written for Greg Ashley to record. In that sense, it was really good because we had a line to measure by: we know what we can do here.

The band added a few new elements, such as strings and keys, that provide a subtle, unobtrusive move forward for their sound. The tone of the record also feels more introspective. Morrison likens it to a rebirth:

On the last record he was so miserable, and now he’s got a kid coming and is trying to figure out what kind of person he’s gonna be and wants to be for his kid. It’s definitely more hopeful than the last record.

The single, “Hands,” has a bit of a flamenco-inspired rift to it that really kicks the album in the gear. The call and response that Lortz and Morrison deliver on “Scorpio” is fantastic as their vocals blend together. And the album closes with the amazing ‘The River,” where Lortz’s vocals seem to be channeled from the later recording of Johnny Cash. Combine that with Morrison’s harmonies, and you have a tune that sounds ethereal.

The duo are on a massive tour now, and will be at The Bottle in Chicago on 12/5.

The Dutchess & The Duke – Hands

The Dutchess & The Duke – Living This Life

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew November 5, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I too really enjoyed their debut. Honestly, I think I need to listen to their new stuff a few more times before I can judge.

Colin November 5, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I love The Dutchess and the Duke, and their new album, has been constant playing on my MP3 player. In fact, I agree that they have a raw feel of 60’s “Newport”-ish music, but still make their own path. 100%!

Luke Kuzava November 7, 2009 at 5:34 am

These guys are cool… When I first heard people refer to them, I thought they were Grand Duchy (the newish duo project with Frank Black from the Pixies and his wife – I saw them in concert and throughout the show they referred to themselves as the “Duke and the Duchess”). The first time I listened to these guys, I was expecting Grand Duchy, and was definitely taken by surprise.

Kallie November 17, 2009 at 1:05 am

I really fell in love with the Duke and Dutchess and is on repeat on my ipod. Have a look on because there is bands that have the same indie feeling!!!

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