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The Complete Book of Duotron Illustrated

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Album Review

Very much of their mid-'90s time, and hyper-indie subculture, was what Duotron was all about, and members Jodie Mechanic and Ricky Sutton weren't ones to waste time. The Complete Book of Duotron isn't quite that; there are a few random tracks from compilations and split releases not included, but the entirety of its two albums, We Modern! We Now! and Battalia Feminil!, plus the OT/DUOTR EP, and a random, confrontational interview snippet are put together here. Mechanic handled the vocals and drums, Sutton the guitar and some occasional vocal noise, and the two of them together emit a general air of structured chaos. Duotron weren't completely crazed, to be fair, rather than a constant flailing mess it's more accurate to call them intentionally primitive, with ultra-minimal melodies and riffs, clattering and careening drum breaks, and Mechanic's there but undecipherable vocals leading the way. If the production has a paper-thin, grinding sameness early on, the songs don't; sometimes favoring metal pounding, sometimes a central riff, sometimes something else "Not Teenage Music Except for Aaron Dilloway!" is almost slinky funk, while "Mambobo!" could almost be a sad surf song. Some songs may be barely a few seconds long, but others, like "I Kill Yourself" possess amiable enough verse and chorus structures at least part of the time. That said, there are plenty of songs where the name of the game is pure, rampaging release, and anyone who got off on the do-not-pass-go art rampage of, say, God Is My Co-Pilot will find this maybe a touch more straightforward but still great fun. There's nothing in the way of explanatory liner notes or reminiscing from the duo, if they had anything to do with the release at all, but the couple of photos from live shows capture the dank milieu the band worked in nicely enough. Mechanic even flashes a giddy, open-mouthed smile at one point, and who can blame her?

The Complete Book of Duotron Illustrated, Duotron
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