• Imogen Bebb

'Honey Tear'/'Un(speak)able' - Many Faces of Duncan

Released 2015/2017

'Honey Tear' Track Listing:

1) Invisible Interior

2) Breakdown

3) Love To Love

4) Let Sleeping Gods Lie

5) Brilliant Times

6) A Weakness Kept Secret

7) Sputnik

8) This Game Is Over

9) Half Baked Man

10) Coming Home

11) The Divine Construct

12) WTF?!!

13) Cheri

14) Man In The Street

15) Sarsens and Started

16) My Fear

'Un(speak)able' Track Listing:

1) Function of the Colour

2) PM:AM

3) Little Death

4) Providence

5) Essential

6) Touch Too Much

7) Tasting

8) Habeas Corpus

9) Unspeakable

10) The Quarry

11) B30

12) To Believe In Me and You

13) Same Old Paradise

14) Before The Sky

Chris Weaver and Steve Bott- aka Many Faces Of Duncan- are a band that certainly live up to their name. Whilst their music is heavily synth-laden throughout, it is obvious from the two albums they have released so far that they are not just a one-trick pony; their music actually does have 'many faces'. The earliest album here, 'Honey Tear' (released 2015) is my personal favourite of the two; gritty, often Kraftwerk-esque synths combined with Weaver's urgent vocals, (particularly on opening track 'Invisible Interior' and closing track 'My Fear', both frank and honest confessional songs) make for an album that is not afraid to show the duo's influences (The Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode and The Human League, amongst others one imagines) and yet is far from predictable. As with a lot of synth albums there are moments when some light relief (i.e. the use of other instruments apart from synthesisers!) is required, but fortunately these cravings are generally satisfied; 'This Game Is Over' shows off some brilliant, piercing guitar, whilst the stripped-back chant style of 'Let Sleeping Gods Lie' relieves some of the intensity. Also worth a mention here is Honey Tear's gorgeous album artwork. The picture on the front (of a girl standing in an eerie-looking yet very green forest) is a perfect introduction to the ethereal, well-crafted group of songs that the album contains. 

We then move on to the duo's most recent album, 'Un(speak)able' (released earlier this year), which marks a very definite swerve towards the pop market. Gone is much of the darkness and subtlety of the first album, to be replaced by equally danceable (if not quite as satisfying) funky electronic beats and synth lines. The latter features are showcased in particular on tracks such as 'Function of the Colour' and 'Touch Too Much', both of which conjure up images of mid-eighties dance clubs both in the U.K. and America. And whilst 'Un(speak)able' occasionally feels a little on the cut-and-paste side, the quality of the lyrics (and indeed the intriguing song titles, particularly 'Little Death', 'Tasting' and 'PM:AM' does not falter. In short, the progression of 'Honey Tear and 'Un(speak)able' are rather reminiscent of The Human League's journey from 'Travelogue' to 'Dare'- the first are sets of dark short stories all with a little twist somewhere unexpected, and the second, whilst perhaps lighter and more digestible for a mainstream audience, are evidence of how the respective bands are mastering their pop craft.  

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For more information about Many Faces Of Duncan, and links to where you can buy their music, check out their Facebook page. 

#2015 #2017 #ManyFacesofDuncan #Synthpop #HoneyTear #Unspeakable #Albumreviews


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