The Bright Side

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Winnipeg, Canada's Duotang explore a dark rock & roll groove on The Bright Side, its third full-length release. Rod Slaughter supplies vocals, bass, and keyboards, and Sean Allum kicks the hard backbeat on these '60s-influenced tunes. The first track, "Bitterman," churns with a Velvet Underground repetition and "Present Blind" brings in a fast-paced, new wave vibe. "Are We Still Aligned?" is a half-hushed rock song that, unfortunately, never really takes off. The flaw in this album is that its production sometimes falls flat, which blends the songs together from one to the next too easily. But Duotang's songwriting is strong, and the record has some real standouts that transcend the sleepers. "A Brief Observation of Our Dissatisfaction With Balance" is an eerie jaunt that would make any slowcore fan smile. "Notable Crowd" continues this mood and then breaks out thanks to blistering sax and trumpet parts. The horn section and Roberta's girl pop, backup vocals on "Toast to the Life-Long Friends" give Duotang a unique feeling all its own and point to the band's should-be sonic destiny -- a Phil Spector wall of sound.

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