Smash the Ships and Raise the Beams

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There must be something about the isolation of living in the middle of the Canadian Prairies, which encourages innovation. When you have nowhere else to go you might as well make your own fun. Apparently all you need are a bass and a drum set to carve out a unique two-piece, hence duo(tang). Unlike other Canadian duos Mecca Normal and the now defunct Inbreds, Winnipeg's Duotang are less pop and experimentation respectively, flowing somewhere up the middle. Although denying it, Duotang's sound, particularly the Paul Weller-ish singing of Rod Slaughter and their post-mod look, borrow suspiciously from the Kinks, the Who and the Jam. What sets them apart from any Mod revival however, is their rough angular post-punk sound veering off into the direction of Gang of Four and edgy art punk NYC stuff. Both Rod (bass) and Sean Allum (drums) are extremely competent musicians and together produce a joyful racket. The music is dour but passionate with concerns close to every angry young man's heart set to the powerful backbeat of bass and drums: doomed relationships, personal growth, sharp observations of contemporary society - the bouncy "Follower of Obvious Voices" urges listeners to be more than simply passive sheep, segues into the more personally direct "Smash". Duotang are something to be seen (sharp suits) and heard. A stripped-down solid debut.

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