Ducking Punches

Dance Before You Sleep

Written by: PP on 24/02/2014 22:46:11

Most singer-songwriter and folksy type of music isn't particularly interesting if you ask me. Some guy singing softly over acoustic guitars that sounds no different from the next guy. Then there are the exceptions, the guys whose vocal chords have that extra bit of charisma and character to carry the songs almost single-handedly, and no, I'm not talking about the soothing voices of the Jack Johnson's of the world. I'm talking about having real pipes, being able to sing softly when needed but without being afraid to scream your longs out and go crazy if that's what gives the song the necessary edge to stand out. This is the corner of the singer-songwriter / folk genre where you'll find the deep roars of Chuck Ragan and the punky, heartfelt acoustic stuff of early Frank Turner records. And as you might have guessed, this is also where you'll find Ducking Punches, a UK-based group who've reached their sophomore album with "Dance Before You Sleep".

If you had a chance to check out their EP "I Am Arturo Bandini" two years ago, you knew these guys had promise. "Dance Before You Sleep" on the other hand sounds like a breakthrough, evidencing similar progression in terms of songwriting as Frank Turner did when he moved to a full backing band between "Love Ire & Song" and "Poetry Of The Deed". There's more focus on the additional flavor - the violins and the electric guitar supplement to the acoustic guitar lead - and the songs have become more deliberate with their purpose. That is, they are angrier than before in places, but also more full and rich in terms of their soundscape elsewhere. Calling it an exact hybrid between the gruff roars and violin-based singer-songwriter of Chuck Ragan and the more ambitious Frank Turner material is pretty much the only way to accurately describe what Ducking Punches have done here. The throaty rough bits offer great contrast to the clean singing, but even the latter are delivered with charisma and conviction, or in other words, sung like Dan Allen really means them. This is important because it keeps the songs interesting even when they would otherwise be in a lull, so to say.

But best of all, this doesn't come at the cost of catchy songwriting, as melancholic opener "It's Been A Bad Few Weeks" demonstrates. "Big Brown Pills From Lynn" has some playful electric guitar supporting the harshly played acoustic guitar in its chorus, and here the rougher vocal delivery comes to its own when contrasted directly against the light violins on the background. It's easily as catchy as Frank Turner's material. "Cursed Luck" is equally good, and the half-aggressive "Why Can't We Gold It Together?" is another keeper. The punk undertones are distinct, but they don't overtake the acoustic folk element at any time rather than supplement it nicely. All in all, "Dance Before You Sleep" is so well put together that it is poised to become the breakthrough album for Ducking Punches, especially now that they are on tour with Frank Turner.

8

Download: It's Been A Bad Few Weeks, Big Brown Pills From Lynn, Cursed Luck, Why Can't We Hold It Together?
For the fans of: Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, Warren Franklin
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.02.2014
Self-Released

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