EP REVIEW: Duke and the Darlings – ‘Champagne of the People’

Duke and the Darlings are Alex Reed (lead vocals, guitar), Jonny Saatchi (bass, backing vocals) Luke Wilkinson (guitar) and Grant Tildsley (drums).

Duke and the Darlings are not like every other band that you have come across, they are distinctively different. They realise that music is about giving and enjoying it with others, so as a testament to this, Duke and the Darlings put on regular free gig nights, every month in fact, to celebrate their love for live music, aptly named Ale-ternative. For a list of all their upcoming gig nights, see below, and be sure to check one of them out. I mean it’s good music and it’s free, you seriously can’t go wrong with that combination.

Duke and the Darlings have released two EPs in their time together as a band, their début being recorded live at Abbey Road Studios, which is impressive in itself. Their most recent offering, entitled Champagne of the People, released earlier this year, is a collection of brilliantly catchy indie rock tunes, that will get stuck in your head for days.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” comes in hard and strong with a luscious, gritty riff that grabs you by the hand and won’t let go. Cut to Reed who sweeps in and instantly steals your attention, as the song takes a little respite from the fast-paced, no holds barred monster that it is. We hold on his every word, as the track once again picks up pace and goes straight into killer mode, and sweeps you into a delicious chorus. The heavy mix of drums thrashing against the surging guitars is purely a wall of sound that works perfectly with Reed’s and Saatchi’s vocals. “Love’s Labour’s Lost” is a truly magnificent track, that can’t help but wet your appetite for the wonders which follow.

“Whiter than White” doesn’t slacken grip, as we charge into the track, which is a real stand out, in my opinion.“Whiter than White”  really showcases the brilliance of Duke and the Darlings, both musically and lyrically, in the best way possible, “you say you wanted some time away, they say till death do us part. You say you wanted to see me, but you’re a fly on the wall”. A real triumph, an angst ridden track fuelled with a killer drum beat and a beautiful melody.

“Don’t Need To” is a slight change in pace, a slow-burning tale of the aftermath at the end of a relationship. We move swiftly onto “Walk Away”, which again picks up pace and storms in with another catchy chorus and a heavy dose of drums. A heartfelt plea to save the relationship and for their other half to “please don’t walk away”. A great track to finish on, cementing just how great Duke and the Darlings are.

A solid EP, arguably their best yet, showing that they are a band to be taken seriously. In my opinion, Champagne of the People, is one of the best EP’s I’ve ever heard, a truly remarkable EP to say it’s only their second release to date. Duke and the Darlings are the type of band that you don’t come across regularly, diamonds in the rough.

Friday 7th June – Brewdog, Peter Street, Manchester with Frank’s Wild Years & Duke and the Darlings – From 7pm – FREE

Friday 21st June – The Castle Hotel, Manchester with Duke and the Darlings, Milk PunX & Hundred Dollar Cigar – From 7pm – FREE

Friday 5th July – Brewdog, Peter Street, Manchester with Duke and the Darlings & TBC – From 7pm – FREE

Friday 19th July – The Castle Hotel, Manchester with Russ Erwin, Duke and the Darlings & Clockwork Radio – From 7pm –  FREE




Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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