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Duke Garwood - ‘Garden Of Ashes’

by AlasterKirk
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on 02 February 2017 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Heavenly Recordings
Release date 3rd February 2017
Rating 5/10

Of all the acts he’s played with (Tinariwen, Kurt Vile, Archie Bronson Outfit), it’s quickly apparent that the biggest imprint left on Duke Garwood was by Mark Lanegan, presumably from their 2013 collab LP ‘Black Pudding’. Vocally, one would be hard pushed to tell that this isn’t Lanegan’s growly drawl, the only giveaways being the occasional trace of an English accent, and the lack of any real letting rip. Indeed, a lack of letting rip permeates the whole album, with brood being the overwhelming tone – it’s a moodier beast than predecessor ‘Heavy Love’ where there were lovely moments of English folk tradition in amongst the scorched earth blues. Here, only the sparseness of ‘Sing To The Sky’ and the vocals of The Smoke Fairies on ‘Blue’ offer much of a break, although not much in the way of levity. Described by Garwood as ‘apocalyptic love music’ and ‘a bath of honey for the soul’, ‘Garden Of Ashes’ unfortunately falls too far between two stools, with no apocalypse – a grinding doomsday clock, sure, but no chime – and not enough delicacy for joy to spring out, with the bath of honey apt only as a metaphor for a bit of a quagmire.

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