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AAA Music | 27 May 2020

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Damn Damn Patriots – Duke It Out With Damn Damn Patriots

| On 26, Jun 2012

Having previously encountered Reading’s Damn Damn Patriots’ first single Do The Sell Out and not been overly enamoured with it’s wrong side of sloppy production and snide, humourless lyrics, I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of reviewing an entire album of it, my heart dropped further when I saw that both tracks that made up the single somehow made it onto the record. So it wasn’t without a sense of trepidation that I cued up the first song on the record and prepared myself for more of the same, but fortunately enough, what I got was… well, more of the same if I’m honest, but this time the unwanted kinks had been ironed out and the songs seemed to have a renewed sense of urgency. Put simply, rather than just giving cursory nods to the likes of the Pixies and Wire, now they sound like a real rock band despite the limited production values and studio time. One can weld a simple bass line to a feedback soaked guitar line and call it Pixies-influenced all they want but with their debut album, Damn Damn Patriots actually sound like they could proudly stand alongside their influences, rather than act as tribute acts to them.

It’s funny, truth be told there shouldn’t be so much difference between that single and this album, given a cursory listen they share the same attributes, but on the album Jason Applin’s vocals complement the songs, like on the spiky pop of Family Unit where his newly clear singing voice gets a chance to shine. The sloppiness of the band only serves to make the moments where they’re totally on the money, like on This is the Song You’d Expect Me to Write all the more exciting. Even State of NY’s nods toward evolution in it’s keyboards and glam rock piano work incredibly well. In fact the only down point is the aforementioned Do The Sell Out, which has all the faults of the single but is an awful lot less hateable when book ended by such great songs.

As I said, there is only one outright bad song on the album, but the album does suffer from a slight case of sameyness. This is defensible for fans of 80’s Indie Rock but for others it can kill an album stone dead, personally I think Duke It Out With… gets away with it, if only for the ridiculously fun closing one two punch of In The End and Supermoronic, both of which smack of The Hives at their most swaggering. In short a great achievement from the most unlikely of sources, seek this out ASAP.

Will Howard