I’m a sucker for the 90s. It was the decade of my teens (I turned 20 in the millennium) and I always have a soft spot for anything 90s related. 90s fashions have all come round again, and the yoof go to 90s themed nightclubs in the same way that I went to 70s nights back in the day. I even find myself mellowing, in my old age, towards the things I found cheesy or (to use a phrase that wasn’t even in existence in the 90s) basic, such as Britney or the Spice Girls. But in my opinion, the 90s gave us some of the greatest UK rock groups OF ALL TIME (I’m talking Skunk Anansie, I’m talking The Wildhearts, I’m talking Baby Chaos, to name but a few). But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I? Blinded as I am by my misty eyed 90s nostalgia. But… I have to admit that my concept of British rock music does tail off after 2000. And so, it is armed with very little knowledge of the current British rock (and by rock, I mean ROCK, not metal, not punk, not hardcore, not psychedelia, but good old rock and roll) that I embark on this review of the new album by Yorkshire rock band Modern Day Dukes, titled 100% Full Fat Noise.
The first track is Company Anthem, a starry-eyed, futuristic opener. It is like the national anthem for an exploratory space mission, sent to colonise new planets and look damn good while they are doing it. Liability Friend follows, with a heavier, more industrial sound, like Endless Nameless-era Wildhearts, complete with Danny McCormack-esque bass riffs. But it has an overall positive, hopeful feel to it. Next up is Go! Exclamation points seem to sum up this band nicely. I love the swooshy fader sound to this one, it has a 90s glam feel, but does get slightly repetitive. The “Left/Right” hook line is cool though, and would go down well live.
Track four is Film Noir. Ooh! A piano! If there is one thing I love more than the 90s, it is a piano. Chuck in the chunky guitar and bass, and you get a song that would be lots of fun live. I imagine a sweaty club with sticky floors, lots of guy-liner, spangly jackets and leather trousers. Next up is Tourist, which reminds me a bit of Scottish band Baby Chaos, especially the interplay of bass and guitar. I can envision a crowd of not entirely ironic mullets moshing away to this.
Track six is called Spent, and has a lovely swirly, left/right fade. I love the drums in this track, and it reminds me of Wargasm by L7 (one of my favourite bands of all time). The next track, Brand Loyalty, has a jaunty riff and puts me in mind of Formaldehyde-era Terrorvision (way before all the Tequila and Whales and Dolphins). The second half of this track slows the tempo, but I think that Modern Day Dukes work better with the speed turned up a bit; bouncing rather than plodding.
Okhrana is Modern Day Dukes most political sounding song, with Russian Revolution inspired lyrics, but still with a sense of fun. Less Rage Against The Machine, more Groove Against The Man. Low Calorie Groove comes next, and it definitely is a groove. The lyrics to this one really stood out for me too.
“I feed my ego ‘til I’m sick… don’t you know that karma is a dick.”
This track is like a less cheesy Livin’ On A Prayer. In a good way.
The final song is Blum. It opens with an evil laugh, and appears at first to be the most claustrophobic and menacing track on what has been, overall a very upbeat album. But the longer I listen, the more I realise that the Blum of the title is Jeff Goldblum. And this pleases me. Life does, indeed, find a way.
Post-modern theory states there can be nothing new. And while Modern Day Dukes aren’t breaking any ground with 100% Full Fat Noise, who cares? This is a fun, British rock album. Not camp enough to be full-on glam rock, but it definitely comes with a sprinkle of glitter. Not po-faced enough to be industrial, but still packs some solid riffage. Not futuristic enough to be space-metal, but they still have their heads in the stars. If you like big guitars, fat bass, positive grooves and Jeff Goldblum, then check it out.
100% Full Fat Noise is available now on Spotify