Plenty of bands have embraced the Rolling Stones as a key influence over the years, but much of the debut album from the Dutchess & the Duke suggests this is a new milestone -- a band that has built an entire act around reworking "Sitting on a Fence." Granted, there's a lot more to the Dutchess & the Duke's formula than that, but at their core they're playing rock & roll with just a couple of acoustic guitars and voices, stripping the whole business down to its most basic elements, and their melodic style and their bursts of lyrical insouciance often suggest Mick and Keith in their quieter moments in the 1960s (think Between the Buttons without the gingerbread). Even if the similarity isn't exactly coincidental (and it may well be), the truth is that Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison write this sort of song nearly as well as the Stones did in the mid-'60s, which is to say they do it very well, and while the arrangements are simple in the extreme (acoustic guitars, some hand percussion in the background, and not much else), they also bring out the strength of the melodies with an easygoing, no-nonsense sincerity that's winning. The same can be said for Lortz and Morrison's harmonies, which are rough but committed and just right for this brand of folk-rock with attitude. At a bit less than 31 minutes, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke doesn't go on long enough to wear out its welcome, and a few more tunes would be welcome, but even the short running time fits in with the duo's "less is more" attitude, and this is one of the more satisfying debut albums to come down the pike in 2008. Note to Lortz and Morrison -- maybe you could try a tribute to "Out of Time" for your production-intensive follow-up?