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  The Suitcase
Artist: Duraluxe
Label: Hidden Agenda Records
Length: 11 tracks, length: 39:40 

The hippest of all trips. 

Duraluxe? Sounds like some newfangled brand of vacuum cleaner?  Actually, it's one of the most happenin' indie pop bands out there, and The Suitcaseis quite possibly the most happenin' CD of the year so far.    Swirling, noisy guitars are at the forefront of this psychedelic alternative retro blend of indie pop that'll have you smiling from start to finish, and is bound to keep college radio denizens happy for months to come.  Plain and simple: it's a fun album. And its good for you!

The band consists of Chris Colbert and Troy Daugherty with the help of Mark Emge, and Megan Morrison, as well as Frank Lenz providing some added zip with his funktified keyboards and arrangements.  The mysterious and soon-to-be famous Richard Swift adds piano to one tune.

The disc starts off with the guitar heavy "Please Be Cool," while "7ths & Minors" and "Phantom Power" sound like refugees from Lenz's Hot Stuff sessions with a 70s funk feeling complete with Morrison's backing "ba-da-da-das" and "doo-doo-doo's."

The spirit of John Lennon flows in and out of "All Together Now" with its heavily repeated refrain of "We are all together..." and accompanying Beatle-esque arrangement.  Meanwhile the Beach Boys show their influence in the harmonies of "For the Memory of St. Joan," even though lyrics that mention Halloween in Greenwich Village are not very Beach Boy-ish.  Quite an interesting contrast.

This is a disc that will be of interest to all fans of indie pop, particularly artists like Pavement, Cush, Frank Lenz, the Lassie Foundation, Sparklehorse, and Mercury Rev.

Oh, and Duraluxe is NOTHING like a newfangled vacuum cleaner.  Mainly because they don't suck. 

Ken Mueller 7/10/2002

We last heard from Duraluxe on their I Duel Sioux split CD with Southern California space pop kids The Lassie Foundation.  The Athens, Georgia transplants rework that collection's "Hit So Hard" on The Suitcase as a kind of lithium-filtered version of Modern English's signature "Melt With You" crossed with The Flaming Lips "Race for the Prize."  Frontman Troy Daugherty croons "I'm hearing bells / I'm seeing stars / You hit so hard" with a disaffected cool and vocal quality akin to Poster Children's Rick Valentin.  Former Breakfast With Amy guitarist Chris Colbert's noise-pop guitar heroics propel the cosmic plea of "Please Be Cool," while mellotron keyboard voices saturate the Lips-like "All Together Now."  The band's most recent addition, Megan Morrison, fleshes out the piano-spiced "7ths and Minors" with layered lounge harmonies.  (www.parasol.com, 303 W. Griggs St., Urbana, IL 61801)

Jeff Elbel 12/21/2002

 

   
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