Wild Hearts

Written by: TL on 06/02/2013 19:38:41

Over their first twelve years as a band, perennial youngsters Dúné have pretty much accomplished everything a Danish band can hope for: Get hits on the charts, play Roskilde Festival, establish a presence in Germany and get big in Asia. Oh and touring, touring and touring some more, building a reputation as a professional and energetic live-band that for a long time was a staple of their appeal. It's probably no wonder then, having chased their own rainbow constantly since high school, that the band is now showing some wear, losing three of the original seven members - guitarist Simon Troelsgaard, drummer Malte Aarup Sørensen and synth/guitar player Cecilie Dyrberg - and releasing their newest opus "Wild Hearts" as a just a quartet.

As such you'd expect a change in sound and a statement of intent, but in my ears "Wild Hearts" only really deliver in the latter category. Their style is still much the same: They want to be a rock band with edge and energy and they want to coat that stereotype with cool, romantic synths that give listeners a clue about their Scandinavian roots. Inspiration from Muse is more apparent than ever, with album opener "Remember Valentina (It Takes Will)" borrowing shamelessly from the British super-trio both in beat, riff and overall mood, and the same goes for the rumble that takes over the otherwise frail intro to "BLCK Star".

This is not bad per se, but it does make Dúné sound a bit like mini-Muse. I'm more onboard with the rhythmic guitar signature and accompanying effect of "Wanted Out", which seems an appreciated nod towards Bowie's classic "Let's Dance". Conversely, the adolescent postulation of leading single "HELL NO!" is flat out annoying, and one has to wonder what in the world the band was thinking when they underscored an already terribly immature hook with child choir. Moreover the song, while trying to be quite hard-edged, shows Dúné's challenge when time comes to stop being either sharp or light and trying to be hard and heavy. There's more punch and promise in the following "Renegade" then, which has a nice and crunchy riff as a signature, but it's chorus unfortunately sounds like a bit of a cop-out in the context of the song.

Instead, I eventually find the best moments of "Wild Hearts" in it's softer, loftier and more melodic offerings - the sparkling cuts like "The Sun Over Green Hills" and "All That I Have", which substitutes youthful self-righteousness with youthful wide-eyed-ness and melancholia, both of which cast the band in a more relatable light. Overall though, Dúné sound young in their handling of their ideas and influences though, and while earlier their wild excitement imbued them with a certain contagious charm, "Wild Hearts" exchanges that for a frustration that seems to stem from the band facing more adversity than ever, and the product has the distinct feeling of unresolved potential. Because there are plenty of good musical elements on this album, which makes it all the more troublesome that its songs so often feel forgetable when considering how much fantastic stuff is being made, if only one looks outside of the clumsy Danish rock scene.


Download: The Sun Over Green Hills, Wanted Out, All That I Have
For The Fans Of: Muse, Carpark North, White Lies
Listen: facebook.com/dunesite

Release Date 04.02.2013
New Gang of Robot's Rec. / Iceberg Records

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