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TOUR OF DUTY
:: The Ending Of . . . :: Duty Now ::
23 November 2006 / Dry Bar / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

Guitars, guitars and more guitars - I see more of the things than most people, and as the old punk-era motto went - here's three chords, now form a band. Great in principle - until you end up with a load of shit bands who can only play three chords. Another guitar band steps up to another stage; oh, and there's a laptop there too, but that's hardly a rare sight these days; they're nothing special to look at... but hang on a minute, what was that!? This is Duty Now and Duty Now don't just play guitars, they build things with them. Great sweeping post-rock inflected landscapes full of kaleidoscopically shifting arrangements; melodic detail carried across the band members that's a thousand times greater than the sum of the parts, and understated electronics underpinning the whole thing. Often it's purely instrumental, a great enveloping sound with flashes of 65daysofstatic atmosphere, subtle waves of keyboard drone and Joy Division bleakness; vocals are sparse, brittle echoes reminiscent of the Longcut at their most glacial, but the overall picture is is very much their own and quite magnificent.

Black and red are the colours of The Ending Of, musically as much as visually. Delicately pretty gothic melodies are battered to within an inch of their lives by harsh taut arrangements and sharp spikes of punk-metal venom, like reaching for a flower and finding it's fixed up to the mains. Alongside the wired frenzy of the excellent "Candyfloss and Cigarettes", older songs such as "A Birthday Girl" have been polished and sharpened to the point where you could have someone's eye out with them. Meanwhile the guitar peals and shimmers; it's a fast-paced battle between sunny afternoons and the blackest of nights. A collection of disparate influences from three decades of darkness are stirred up to make something wilfully individual. It seems to be all over in mere minutes, but that might just be the intoxicating urgency of the band; don't blink, because you really don't want to miss them.



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