Seattle’s premier power-pop trio Dude York have made a welcome return with ‘Falling’ – their second album to be released on the esteemed label, Hardly Art. An album all about how you can fall in and out of all kinds of relationships during your life and how sometimes, it all manages to fall into place.
Inspired by the emo and alt-rock heroes of the early 2000s and a diet of KEXP sessions, Jangly Pavement-style guitars signal the start of the opening ‘Longest Time’ as Claire England takes centre stage, singing about the joys of forming a bond with someone special – and then not wanting to share them: ‘Met you, kept you a secret for a little while. It’s nothing weird like that, just wasn’t ready to share your smile. But I couldn’t hold it in for long; my friends all knew anyway’. There’s also a fine line in self-examination (and depreciation) as she wonders if she’s fallen too fast, too soon: ‘Gotta get out of my head but what if this is destiny? Just kidding. You and me are just getting started. This is the best part when you believe I can do nothing wrong’. The new wave of recent single ‘Box’ follows with Peter Richards delivering nostalgic lines about a lost love: ‘I can still remember how your hair was a wild mess. It was always everywhere. I’ll never love again, no, not me. I’ll never love again indefinitely’.
Influenced by the songs that inspired Dude York’s love of music, there are plenty of nods to the alternative heavyweights of the ’80s but also more modern contemporaries like Beach Slang or Bleached. ‘Should’ve”s relentlessly potent guitar hooks surround Claire’s defiant musings: ‘Would you despise me or even recognise me if I tell you that I remember everything you said. Although I was drunk, my memory’s not 100%. We all move on and it’s OK we never look back’; while ‘Only Wish’ is a fuzzier, more emo-sounding song with Peter opening up his heart and admitting to the subject of his affections that ‘This is my only wish you could hear me tell you I love you more’ and ‘You’ve got me overflowing’ within a short and sharp 2 and a half minutes.
‘Unexpected’ reminded us of Jimmy Eat World in its opening throes before Claire goes on to discuss how she will fully embrace the single life: ‘Gonna spend like six months on my own, maybe sleep around’; ‘If I meet someone who seems worth saving, maybe slow it down, we’ll call it dating but I’m not gonna settle until I’m sure’. She then backs up on things when she falls into an unexpected romance and tries to play it cool by not contacting the new suitor all too often:’What if he’s just being nice? They say it never happens but I think it might. If I come on too strong I’ll look like a freak’. Recent single ‘Falling’ is another song that taps in to youthful nostalgia and first lust (‘kiss me, kind of tastes like kiwi’) as the band hope for the picture-perfect romances of ’90s teen movies like Clueless to ring true: ‘I secretly hoped that when it happened to me there would be no doubt it would feel like falling. Smiling like an idiot all day, you make me laugh and know exactly what to say’.
‘Doesn’t Matter’ features playful dual vocals between Peter and Claire as they examine the end of something (‘You’ve been a blessing and a constant curse but I couldn’t say just which one is worse’), while ‘Let Down’ captures the buoyant sound of the Seattle underground scene – even if the band are talking about loneliness and returning to the scene of a crime. The stripped-back sound of ‘Making Sense’ offers extra attention to the Modern Baseball-esque lyrics: ‘Then one day you look around and realise nothing’s happening’; ‘Don’t be kind, please just be cruel. Who’d you think that you would fool?’ before the album finishes in jaunty and celebratory style with ‘DGAFAF (I know what’s real)’s ode to adolescent romance: ‘When love is real, this is how it feels’.
Packing a nostalgic punch while still remaining fresh and modern, Dude York’s latest record is one that you’ll instantly fall for…