I was recently sent an album called Smoke Against the Beat, by a duo who have named themselves The Dukes. Formed back in 2010 by lead guitarist/vocalist Francois Maigret, and drummer/programmer/vocalist Greg Jacks. This album is their first full length, and was released through Concrete Management on July 28th, 2017. They play what I would consider indie rock, and are similar to the newer elements of Cage the Elephants sound. They describe themselves also as high energy art n’ roll, which is punctuated by their intense live shows. They employ the use of “machines, scenography, projected animated video clips designed by Francois, and an original light show that creates a visual presentation reminiscent of a Stanley Kubrick film for the intense live performance of this Indie Rock duo” (from their Facebook page).
There are 12 songs on this release, and it’s actually difficult to pick tracks that are representative of their sound, and are ones that standout from the others. In my opinion, all 12 are excellent, and there’s only one that stands out amongst the rest. The last song, “Genius”, is my absolute favorite on Smoke Against the Beat. Opening up with the pre-chorus, “You froze all that was hot, You burned all that was cold, You smashed all that was standing”, which are lyrics I identify with; actually, the whole song is something I identify with. That frustration a person feels in a toxic relationship, and the feelings it brings about. Another one that sticks out is “Black Hole Love”, and a very nice Queens of the Stone Age vibe to it; the guitars really have that Josh Homme style. It also reminds me a bit of the Eagles of Death Metal, and even the White Stripes. It’s got that upbeat indie rock distorted guitar that all those bands like to use on their albums. There is also a pretty cool video for it on Youtube, and it shows them playing it live. Other tracks to look out for are “Just in Case”, “Golddigger”, and “Alright”.
The Dukes are a couple of talented individuals, each of them have a wide range of talents; both of them apply these skills to making the album what it is. Smoke Against the Beat is an indie rock masterpiece, and will fit in well with anyone who gets into bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant, Eagles of Death Metal, and The White Stripes. Go give the album a listen, and show their social media outlets some much deserved love!
– Tom Hanno