Duchess Says – Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs

Duchess Says
Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs

As a reviewer of independent music, I always keep an open mind as to a band’s intentions and aspirations. Even if the music isn’t necessarily original, I give credit for the effort and determination to create something for people to enjoy founded solely on their dreams. For me to completely trash a work without citing any redemption, they must actually insult my intelligence, annoy my ears, and waste my time. Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs by Duchess Says is such an album.

These auditory criminals come from Montreal, and were founded by…well honestly, who cares? The group has been described as having “the fury and intensity of punk rock comprised of screaming guitars, moaning bass and relentless drumming with keyboards and the explosively sexy stylings of vocalist Annie-C. There is something breathtakingly original about Duchess Says and one listen to Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs will cement that impression.” Ha, ha, ha very funny.

Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs opens with “Tenen non neu” and it literally sounds like a drum machine backing up a neutered squirrel. I actually thought “oh my god I’m going to have fun ripping this to threads.” After Ms. Ferret is done making noises, she screams and makes other noises. Wow, what a fantastic opening. It has an industrial techno sound like shoving the worst of 80s pop synth into a garbage disposal. The rest of the album, to its credit, is comprised of actual songs. That’s the best I can say about them; that they do have a beginning, middle and end, complete with verses, bridges and choruses which are all horrible. There are no standouts from this album except the first track, which is simply more amusing and pathetic than the rest of it.

So what exactly is wrong here? Musically, there is no new ground shed. It follows a close blue print of other bands. It is made from the apprentices of garbage 80s music, where the cheesiest keyboards complemented distorted guitar chords over a programmed beat. Vocally, the singer wishes like hell that she was Gwen Stefani, only she lacks the cute innocence Stefani possessed in her glory days, and instead conveys a really bad menstrual cycle. And if this wasn’t enough, the actual production is horrible. There is way too much treble and not enough bass, making it sounds like a MIDI that will cut your ear drums in half. Perhaps back in 1983 when these advancements in music technology where new and innovative, this sound was passable and even exciting. But even looking back then, I can think of a hundred songs that had better writing, catchier melodies and more pleasant vocals and sounds. In 2008, there is no reason to bring this style back. No one missed it, and if they did, they could go back 25 years and be nostalgic for good 80s music, like Kate Bush and Thomas Dolby.

I feel the need to mention that even though Progressive Rock is my forte, I have nothing against punk music or songs built out of a few chords. I love London Calling by The Clash, I think Green Day’s American Idiot is a modern day Quadrophenia (The Who), and I will defend till my dying day that No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, and especially Return To Saturn, had great songwriting on it for the level of their ability. However, Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs is an abysmal, annoying and completely useless effort. I’ve heard better things in an MRI machine. In fact, I couldn’t even finish listening to it the first time because it was so horrible and offensive. I could tell exactly how the rest of the album would sound, as well as that nothing decent would reveal itself with repeated listening, and that’s never a good thing. Duchess Says can say they’re great, but I say they suck. Bad.