The Duke, Detroit – ‘Iconic’

2015 has been a bit of a roll for me so far review-wise; recently C Duncan wowed with ‘Say’ and here ‘Iconic’ takes, ooh, three seconds to seduce.

Fair old buzz about these young fellows and on this evidence of it’s easy to see why.

This is good; very good.

Without being in any way backward-looking it manages to reference all the tropes da kids are into and yet somehow be irresistible and fresh.

The disco percussion, the synths, the dead pan vocal reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys, the scratchy guitars… it’s all here; but there’s a joy, a pop perfection about the whole that vastly outweighs any weary judgement about boxes being ticked.

Perhaps it is the uplifting strings that appear half way through; no pretence just unalloyed pleasure.

Get me to a dancefloor forthwith.

A cynical A&R might be counting his future income with fiendish, avaricious glee, but I’d defy even him not to crack a genuine smile when the ever so subtle female backing vocal feathers in; these are the touches that differentiate the also rans from the contenders.

This, and previous tunes like the slightly more post punk ‘Accelerate’, may go down a storm with the hip young gunslingers on the Finnieston drag but equally make sense rolling out the car stereo or sprucing up the squashed commute on the train; covering all those bases is gold… and not easy.

In fact nothing about this deceptive record is simple: it’s highly crafted and exact.

If you’re a musical git like me you’ll recognise some of the cheerier moments from Electronic – the Marr, Sumner, Tenant axis – on the other hand, even if you were born yesterday you should love this; and congratulations on learning to read so soon.

Sophisticated, artfully precise, pretty much faultless electro/dance/indie pop.

Call it what you will; it’s sublime.

More please, boys, tout suite.

Words: Andrew Morrison

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