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Duke Garwood - Emerald Palace

  by Sarah Mwangi

published: 3 / 4 / 2007

Duke Garwood - Emerald Palace
Label: Butterfly Recordings
Format: CD


Initially hard going, but ultimately rewarding debut album from experimental folk musician Duke Garwood

Some could dismiss ‘Emerald Palace’ as an onslaught of clangs, twangs, scratches, rattles and crackling with fleeting moments of success, but those people would be taking the easy way out. Admittedly, I was among this group of non-believers, but throughout my first listen this album was calling out for a second chance. Hidden underneath the dishevelled sounds was a country blues soul which wanted to make its mark by experimenting with an array of sounds. Songs such as ‘Late Night Caller’, ‘Swans On The Water’ and ‘Flame Song’, have a Robert Johnson-esque feel to them. They hold the raw stripped blues of a man sitting alone in a log cabin in the heat of summer, singing longingly with a lazy country slur to an unknown figure while strumming his guitar is a disjointed blues pattern. Whilst instrumental pieces, such as ‘Dash It All’, possess a fleeting beauty, with dusty twangs of a guitar and light clangs of a crash cymbal accompanied to haunting echoey vocals that creep in from the shadows. However, not all of the songs are a success, which begs the question, with a total of 18 songs, why weren’t the more eccentric pieces cut out. This would have given the more charming songs the ability to shine right from the start and would have made this album a whole lot easier to listen to. With the likes of ‘Shimmering Visage…’, however, it is apparent that Duke Garwood doesn’t want to be an easy listen, and because of that ‘Emerald Palace’ needs multiple listens before its gems can sparkle.

Track Listing:-
1 I Can Wait
2 Beast Of Wood
3 Men We Be
4 Obliteratus
5 The Lonely Freak
6 Shimmering Visage In The Eye Of The Black Rhino
7 9 Peace
8 Pirates
9 Late Night Caller
10 Solar Vacation
11 Dash It All
12 Bathe Me Like The Sun
13 Heat Haze Horizon
14 Swans On The Water
15 Psychic Weather
16 The Bark
17 Flame Song
18 Silver Lake

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