Dude York

Sincerely

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AllMusic Review by

Seattle trio Dude York started off as a scuffed-up, home-recorded indie rock band with a love of '90s alt-rock and have slowly progressed from their humble beginnings to the kind of band that records in a real studio with a big-name producer. Their third album, Sincerely, was made with the help of co-producers Cody Votolato (of Blood Brothers fame) and John Goodmanson, whose résumé includes Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill, among many others. It was also their first record to be made with all three members' input in the writing process, and features bassist Claire England on lead vocals on two songs she wrote. This approach results in their biggest-sounding, most impressive record yet, something that nearly creeps up on the best work of their heroes like Weezer and Built to Spill. They share a bunch with those two bands: snappy hooks, supercharged guitar riffs, singalong choruses, and laconic vocals. In fact, now that the band has finally been clearly recorded, you can't miss how much Peter Richards' voice and phrasing match those of Rivers Cuomo. It's not exactly uncanny valley territory, but Richards has surely worn out a copy or two of Pinkerton along the way. Dude York's obvious love of Weezer and the '90s sound they epitomize could have been a problem if they didn't write great songs and play them with passion and fire. Tracks like "Something in the Way" and "Life Worth Living" have monster choruses the likes of which Weezer wish they could still write, the uptempo rockers like "Paralyzed" and "Bit Saloon" have some serious kick, and there is just a whole bunch of really good songs. Like "Twin Moons," which alternates between a sweet ballad and loping rocker, with a weird prog interlude along the way. Or one of England's songs, "Love Is," which shows she's also familiar with the works of Mr. Cuomo and just as good at putting a scrappy spin on them as Richards is. "Tonight," her other song, might be the sneaky, fist-pumping highlight of the album. The only stumble is the album-ending acoustic ballad "Time's Not on My Side," not because it's bad, but because another wall-shaking rocker or smile-inducing pop song would have been a better way to finish. Still, that's a tiny little issue that does nothing to dim the brightness of the rest of Sincerely. It's a great modern rock album that's indebted to the past but not tied to it. Dude York have come a long way and judging by this album, they've arrived.

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