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Herman Dune – Strange Moosic

Herman Dune have always been about what they want – and it’s no different on this release. Going since 2005, they are a soft (although this writer has never stroked them) folk/rock band who focus on warm, honest ’songwriter‘ songs you can relate to. The legendary radio presenter John Peel picked them up almost a decade ago, and he was so wrapped up in the band that he invited them to ten of his cult ‘Peel Sessions’. This is the first release on their own record label imprint ‚STRANGE MOOSIC‘ since cutting ties from their previous label commitments. But does it mark a new direction? That’s questionable.

Lyrically, they always tell you a story, and take you on a journey. They are honest, sometimes bitter and therefore easy to relate to. For example: “Come and take my heart – you go and take my heart, we will ride around together, never apart“ may hint at something shiny and banal, but when you consider that Herman Dune prefer a ‚weird‘ lyric to something such as the one above, it’s interesting to note. They are much more comfortable when they are singing something like: „I was lying, and you believed me, I was crying to you that my heart had been broken, you were dancing like Christopher Walken“; on their track ‚My Joy‘ from this LP, you see what they are really about. You really feel that you are getting inside the brain of David-Ivar Herman Dune when he sings at you with his recognizable, lamentable and sometimes comical vocals.

While we are considering the importance of the conversational, story-telling lyrics, they can also be harsh: „You were born in the winter and the river was frozen, you will die in the summer in a bed you’ve not chosen.“ This is usually rare, but they can sure stick the knife in sometimes. Musically, they are also adept at creating nice sound waves; the choir on ‘Ah Hears Strange Moosic’, to the eerie sound they create on ‘Where Is The Man?’.

There is a depth and a lightness to ‘Strange Moosic’, but on this record Herman Dune just don’t seem to know which they prefer; it’s not a dark record, it’s not a light record, and it’s usually the lyrics that offset the more upbeat music they create. That said, this record is polished and well recorded. It sits well with their previous output, and shows that they are treating this new release as a new start. Littered throughout are short, well-crafted examples of the band’s trademark sound, and it can get you hooked.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know“, the first single, announces change with a video featuring a strange and cute (yet a little creepy) blue Yeti, and actor John Hamm from Mad Men. Herman Dune will intensively tour through 2011 and 2012. In review, the sounds are all very similar on this release, as is the Herman Dune sound, but this is no bad thing. When you can do it well, do it until everyone else gets fed up and shouts at you. Many won’t be shouting at Herman Dune anytime soon.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Herman Dune
Herman Düne

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