Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

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Duke Special: Wake Up, Scarlett
Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

Elsewhere works in mysterious ways, it's wonders to perform.

About 10 days ago I got an e-mail from guy in Belfast, Jonny McEwen. He'd seen Elsewhere and suggested I check out an Irish musician called Duke Special, and he provided me with a web-link and a review someone had written.

I was curious but figured that while Duke Special (aka Peter Wilson) might be worth checking out the best I would be able to do if he was any good would be to maybe pass on his name via the weekly e-mail to subscribers.

Then buggah me at the very moment I was downloading some tracks from his site a package arrived containing his album, it has been given local release in New Zealand!

Keep 'em comin' Jonny, you are onto something.

And Duke Special really is something: excitingly orchestrated, atmospheric songs full of quirky lyrics, sort of dramatic folk-rock, and somewhere in the gap between Arcade Fire and Rufus Wainwright (two reference points many others have made also).

Uncut magazine gave this album four stars and said, "It blows its own trumpet, in the best possible way". Mojo likened it to "melancholy Randy Newmanesque pop culled from some off-Broadway musical for smart kids" And Clash magazine said "the songs favour an otherworldy orchestral arrangement, yet enclosed within a three minute pop song time frame.

This is the kind of record that is singled out as a highpoint in a career retrospective, but here it is, a debut album signposting a major new talent on the landscape".

I agree on all counts -- and I guess Belfast Jonny does too.

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