The Dark Art Of Happiness
When Ludes strolled onto the scene a few years hence, unleashing their brand of slightly paranoid post/mod indie sparring in shows with the likes of Future Kings of Spain and The Others, you felt that they are very much a band of the time. However, on the brink of their debut album, this fickle industry has moved on, but in opener 'Badlands' they do start of with disgruntled pungency, incorporating high roasting guitars to give some pulsation to the commencement. However, they don't really expand on this and the riffs tend to sound a tad lazy by the time of fourth track 'Sailor Boy'. This is until halfway through, when the poetically lolloping piano led 'Mr. Benson', sees David Ashby's normally gritty vocals take a polished and soulful style.
The band suddenly gets bold in 'Free' and adds a bit of free-styling funk into the mix with a slow bluesy vice gripping Ashby's voice. Things are now starting to get interesting and Ludes are beginning to show the adventure that they more than hinted at when they first arrived on the scene. The ska and country coated 'Luckiest Theatre', has a certain The Zutons instrumental spark and illuminates an empirical side to this London quintet. However, their once standout track of the growling garage rock ilk 'Dog Don't Bark', seems to have lost it's snap and the album seems to peter out like Peter Andres' voice if he were to fall down a bottomless well. However, you get the feeling that this is a band that are still growing and do ooze potential, it is just a pity that it is only realised in snatches on this debut offering.
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