Duochrome – Tactical Knives

Tactical Knives

Duochrome are self-professed as somewhat lazy, getting up from the TV to play a few gigs or record a few new songs. Their music, however, doesn’t have that lazy feel. Rather, it’s some nearly perfect guitar-driven indie pop, sometimes sweet and shining, sometimes edgier and brattier. At times sounding more jangly and bouncy like the Rentals, at times more guitar-driven and edgier like REM, Duochrome does a little bit of everything on this album. Some power-pop, some pure and sweet pop songs, all with some pretty and crisp guitar, some assorted synthesizers and the perfect pop vocals.
“Shimmer Projector” starts things off with a softer pop number, the vocals very clear and crisp and indie pop sounding. I could swear “Ditch Witch” was a slower and more experimental Sonic Youth tracks, with a synthesized drum beat and more trippy, Eric’s Trip-like vocals. But then “Baffle Wall” is 60’s-influenced, Beatles-esque pop with some spacey synths swirling in the background. “Girls Deluxe” has a definite Frank Black/Pixies feel to it, somewhat grungy and edgy but with some driving guitar. “Standard Deviation,” unlike its name, is not math-rock but rather a softer, folk-influenced guitar rock song, both pretty and heartfelt. The vocals here have a definite Pavement feel to them. Then, suddenly, there’s a Guided By Voices feel, both with the short but Pavement-esque “Waffle Ball (Reprise)” and the indie rock “Legacy Code” that has those echoed vocals that GBV do so often. Both songs are just over a minute long. Then both “Rodeo Chum” and “Negotiating the Driveway” have a grungier feel, the guitars all crunchy and feedback soaked, but the vocals still clear and poppy. And “The Ring of Passing Tires” finishes things off as the album started, more pure, guitar-driven pop that’s as fun as it is sweet and charming.
I hear some serious Sonic Youth influences on several of Duochrome’s tracks, about half and half with REM’s influences. Pavement, Guided By Vocals, Rentals, it’s all there. But it’s all wrapped up in a pop package, and that’s what makes Duochrome so interesting. They combine a variety of different styles without leaving their pop sensibilities. It makes for a diverse yet stellar album, with perfect production and some genuine beautiful songs.