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Morello vs Masaru Mitsu - The Duellists

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12" LP with lyric insert

Morello singer Malcolm "Sir Mal" Cross may be singing about Beemers or Benz's on "European Ride" but it hardly matters even if he's singing about a beat-up Saab because his paean to foreign automobiles hits the ears like sweet cotton candy, a silky treat delivered in falsetto that reminds a bit of Marvin Gaye. Funk and soul overtones are a big part of this record and most of the funk comes from the bass work of Pierre Martin, who really hits his stride on the popping "Won't Get Me Down." The Duellists though is purely a pop record, but not of the mindless sort, and the sublime work of bands like Crowded House comes to mind. Cross sings in his regular voice (not falsetto) for most of the album and in such a way that he imparts the fun he's having rolling along atop these catchy melodies. The band though, rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Masaru Mitsu and guitarist Darrin Tehrani, does get a little extra-adventurous on the B-side's opening cut "I Wanna Be Bad" with its nod to a blues freak-out and lyrics such as "Screw you I'm not doing what you tell me." "The Time to Know You Well" is the album's one slow and slightly sad number, a stark contrast to the bouncy "Doo Doo Song," which is about "Yes I do do do" and not poo poo as might be supposed pre-listen. Bright and sunny like a Saturday afternoon, The Duellists is happiness-on-a-disc, a pop masterpiece built for repeated mood enhancement.

Order the limited edition vinyl here.

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