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In a fast-paced world, hipster string bands can't afford to get into a rut. There is no hipper string band than the Duhks, and for their fourth album they have, in their own words, "invented a new sound." It's not a completely original sound, but it's new for them, and originality in pop music is overrated anyway. What we get on Fast Paced World is a bracing mixture of blues, rock, hot jazz, Celtic, gypsy, Latin, and pop styles, all delivered with an exhilarating blend of skillful tightness and wild emotional abandon. Lead singer Sarah Dugas (who joined the band in 2007) brings an extra-dark flavor to the Duhks' sound, delivering songs like the torchy "This Fall" and a bluesy, barn-burning rendition of the hurricane ballad "Mighty Storm" in a sweetly gritty roar. Elsewhere the band delves into straight-up rock & roll (on the deftly rocking but lyrically facile title track) and Brazilian pop (on the brilliant "Magalenha"), and Dugas indulges her French skills to no apparent purpose on "Toujours Vouloir." (It made musical sense to sing "Magalenha" in Portuguese, but "Toujours Vouloir" comes across as mere showing-off.) When the band returns to its trad roots, the results are no less fiery and impressive: the reel set "New Rigged Ship" is one of the album's many high points. Someday the Duhks may find their natural style and settle into it, and when they do, their albums will become much less interesting.
Performance CreditsDuhks Primary Artist
Tania Elizabeth Fiddle,Mandolin,Strings,Background Vocals,Pump Organ,fender rhodes
Sarah Dugas Vocals,Background Vocals
Jordan McConnell Banjo,Guitar,Background Vocals
Leonard Podolak Banjo,Vocals,Background Vocals
Christian Dugas Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Technical CreditsCarlinhos Brown Composer
Jay Joyce Producer,Audio Production
Sarah Dugas Composer
Jonathan Byrd Composer
Jordan McConnell Composer
Leonard Podolak Composer
Dan Frechette Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A more widely-accessible set of songs deviates only slightly from the folksy/international vibe of the first three albums by The Duhks. With new vocalist Sarah Dugas and her brother Christian as the new percussionist, The Duhks have definitely made their most cohesive album to date. The songs blend The Duhks' lush acoustic roots music with more soul and pop, and even some Tom Waits-esque " found" percussion sounds, but flow better than their earlier works. The only complaint I have? I wish " Fast Paced World" had another ten songs on it. STANDOUT TRACKS: Mighty Storm, Fast Paced World, This Fall, Toujours Vuoloir, 95 South
This Canadian quintet move from strength to strength on their third international release, gracefully blending the folk elements of their sound to emerge as a sparkling acoustic pop outfit. Newcomer Sarah Dugas' soulful vocalizing, reminiscent of former Duhk’ s lead singer Jessee Harvey's husky croon, blows the cobwebs off the band's traditional fixations, especially on the opening blues number, " Mighty Storm." But the fiddle, banjo, and occasional whistle betray any greater pop ambitions. The Duhks nearest competition used to be Nickel Creek before they went their separate ways, but these Manitobans have more soul by half, and even a fair measure of grit. Where Nickel Creek might have drawn some unconventional inspiration from Frank Zappa or Pavement the Duhks tend to compose their own materials on this latest offering, with Sarah Dugas taking on the loin’ s-share of the writing duties. Producer Jay Joyce keeps Fast Paced World shimmering and intimate, encouraging judicious and colorful percussion from Dugas’ brother Christian, as well as a guest spot from former band member Scott Senior. But their efforts are never so overwrought as to obscure the plain joy that the Duhks take in their musicianship, or these deeply felt songs. With two former band members moving on to other projects, and two new talents to replace them, The Duhks are clearly a band in the midst of a transition. But the change seems to be working, and all The Duhks are asking of us is to keep up with their new World.