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Burke; Dec: Destroy All Monsters (Remix Version)

With his involvement in the excellent Darwin's Radio and Frost*, I was naturally excited when I received Dec Burke's debut solo release Destroy All Monsters and as I eagerly slotted the disc into the CD player for its inaugural spin, I was desperate to hear what he had come up with. Billed as being on the poppy side of prog and having been likened to Depeche Mode (I get that), It Bites (stretching things slightly) and Foo Fighters (NO!), I had expected a crisp, clear album that flew out of the speakers with a mighty sting and now that I have been sent the excellently remixed version of the CD, I have not been disappointed!

The songs themselves are incisive prog-pop workouts that rely on wonderful little guitar motifs to interplay with layered keys and Burke's impassioned vocals. The bass work, from both Nathan King and Steve Knightly and percussion from Tim Churchman is faultless, as it lays a foundation for Burke to build his wonderful melodies upon. Songs like the dramatic, edgy keyboard led title track, or the electro-prog of "Winter To Summer" reveal an enigmatic album from a genuinely talented song writer and it doesn't end there. "Signs Of Life" comes over as a vibrant, frantic slab of keyboard melody and "Open" exposes a heart breaking, melancholic side to Burke that is as stark as it is fresh. That melancholy is still somehow blended with a commercial sheen that suggests that Dec could well be on a winner with some more opened minded melodic rock fans, prog fans who don't rely on 70 minute suites, or even the chart friendly masses who somehow get the likes of Muse or Tool (although Dec is much more laid back and straight forward than that pair).

Unsurprisingly Burke's voice is one of the main focal points across the disc and whether he is giving a heart-felt rendition, as he does on "Promised", or going hell for leather in the way that the crescendo to the wonderfully shape-shifting, melodic "Sometimes" demands, his vocals are always totally believable. The most impressive aspect of this album however, are the masterly arrangements, which add a depth to the songs that draws you in, making you feel like you are almost inside them.

It would be fair to suggest that if you liked Burke's previous band, Darwin's Radio, then you are going to jump for joy when you hear Destroy All Monsters, although beware that Burke has chosen to highlight the lighter, catchier end of their output. However if you have an interest in the music of the likes of The Pineapple Thief, Deadwing era Porcupine Tree or Frost*, then I have no doubt that you will love Destroy All Monsters.

Track Listing
01 - The Last Time
02 - Winter To Summer
03 - Signs Of Life
04 - Sometimes
05 - Secret Lives
06 - Open
07 - Promised
08 - Small Hours
09 - Destroy All Monsters

Added: December 4th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Dec Burke Official Web Site
Hits: 2908
Language: english

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