Rock N' Roll loving duo and former John Peel favourites of French, definitely 'not Swedish' or American homeland, Herman Dune follow up their breakthrough album 'Strange Moosic' with a new EP, 'Monument Park'. Although the title track is lifted from the album, its inclusion, as one of the catchier and instantly appealing of the album tracks, is more of a stepping stone used as a platform to showcase four new songs.
'Monument Park' itself is a frenetic acoustic guitar and drum-driven, giddy, skipping, foot loose, toe tapper of a song that is irresistibly infectious. The simplicity and energy ensure that the well written and aptly executed song get you on a high from the off. 'Shadow Of A Doubt' references more 70s influences than their Rock N' Roll predecessors but is nonetheless effective; even the guitar solo is clearly plucked from an era of big taches and tight trousers. The bongos add the flare and the sing-a-long continues with another hook laden chorus.
The tempo is slowed for the more contemplative thoughts of 'Wait For The Dead To Live Again'. David-Ivar 'Yaya' Herman Dune and 'Cosmic' Neman Herman Dune use a stripped back but remarkably full sound to frame a gentle folky pop ballad with many nice lines...'I wanna talk but I mumble, I wanna walk but I stumble'. 'Drunk But Not With Wine', the penultimate of the tunes, maintains the mood with more, somewhat regretful, reminiscences. Yaya's vocal and guitar are sad but not mawkish and the song comes in somewhere at the intersection of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Neil Young.....which, depending on your tastes is either very good or quite a frightening prospect.
The close out track of the EP is the most interesting of all. The lyrics have a great storyline; the arrangement has more depth and presence and the layering of the vocal gives it an oddly familiar, but hard to place, quality which, however strange, brings you to draw comparisons to Nina Simone's 'Sinnerman'. 'Blessing And A Curse', although not as catchy or immediate, could easily have headed up this 5 track EP; it's the more enduring, better track, and the inclusion of the female backing vocal enhances the track still further.
The 'Monument Park EP' from Herman Dune does not break much new ground and will probably not result in many new members to their fanbase. It does, however, maintain momentum, gives us four very good new songs and shows just how consistent they have become of late. John Peel, God rest his soul, was rarely wrong and Herman Dune are definitely not an exception to that rule.
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