Duncan Dhu

  • Duncan Dhu
  • Canciones (Sire) 1989 
  • Autobiografia (Sire) 1990 

Far from being the Basque revolutionaries of their press notices, this mild-mannered Spanish duo plays simple, hearty guitar pop (frequently with nothing more than a single acoustic) in a willy-nilly variety of idioms: bare-bones rockabilly, early Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers, as well as more modern designs. (The only musical traditions that seem to have been overlooked are any that would reflect the group’s national origin.) A compilation of the band’s first three Spanish albums, Canciones wobbles all over the place with charming enthusiasm and great vocals, frequently suggesting a destylized translation of the Stray Cats or House of Freaks.

Under the tutelage of British producer Colin Fairley, Mikel Erentxun (guitar, vocals) and Diego Vasallo (vocals, bass) made Autobiograf¬°a with such sympathetic rockers as Nick Lowe, Brinsley Schwarz, Pete Thomas, Bruce Thomas and the Rumour Brass. Regardless of good crossover intentions, however, the tasteful assistance all but buries the band’s personality, eliminating its eccentricities and erasing the look-ma-we-made-a-record! giddiness that surges through every groove of Canciones. As a further inducement to Anglo-American pop consumers, the LP includes a bonus EP (added to the CD and cassette as well) containing accented English renditions of three album tracks and one Canciones number.

[Ira Robbins]