Song Preview: Duke and the Darlings – ‘Svengali Says’

Manchester’s indie darlings, Duke and the Darlings are set to release their new track, Svengali Says, this Friday 20th December via Sweet Sweet Records. Nicely timed, just in time for Christmas, so you can’t say they are not good to us, and what a great pre-Christmas gift it is. The song sits perfectly with their back catalogue but also introduces new themes and a renewed sense of style to their sound, that we haven’t heard before, it pushes their limits a little further, which is always a good thing in my book.

The track is full of catchy pop hooks brimming with the grittiness and edginess of their alt-rock at it’s core, it’s three minutes of pure indie grooves and the clever lyricism that we expect from the Darlings: “I could sleep between two mezzanine floors because she’s worth the squeeze”. This is the perfect gift for yourself. If your feeling like you want to treat yourself but don’t want to go over the top, then this is it. What’s better than new music from a great indie band? Nothing, exactly. I managed to get in a few quick words with Duke and the Darlings frontman, Alex Reed, about their latest release and their upcoming EP, here’s what he had to say:

Alex on Svengali Says: “The song is about the often shameless approach to finding happiness with an insignificant other. The rushed moments of passion and the accompanying sentiments of exaggeration. The urgency of lust, really.”

Alex on the meaning behind the song title: “I think a lot of musicians are driven by thoughtless lechery for success, much like a pissed up twenty-something after a quick conquest. There is nothing wrong either way, but some folk seemed possessed by quick-fix ideas, rather than a more sustainable ideal. ‘Svengali’ simply means someone who controls. Fumbles are fun but self-control is crucial.”

Alex speaking about the progression from their last EP to this single to the upcoming third EP: “The single thematically bridges the songs on ‘Champagne…’ and the songs on the new EP, and probably musically too. The new EP definitely has a sense of maturity to it: one song, ‘Post-It Note’, really does chime of an era new, though there is an obvious progression to anyone who has heard our first two EPs. We are really excited by that song.”

If you are unfamiliar with the Duke and the Darlings, which is unlikely but for those of you that aren’t, have a read of my previous posts on them, here and here. They are favourites here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies as some of you might know, and I can’t speak highly enough of this new track, sadly I can’t bring you an exclusive first listen, that’s why you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s amazing, and go buy it on Friday. Watch the video below for a little bit of a teaser from when they were recording the track, studio shenanigans sums it up. 

To catch them live next you don’t have to wait too long either, they are headlining their own EP launch gig at none-other-than a brewery, yes, you heard it right! The perfect combination for this band, good music and good ale.The EP launch will take place on 22nd March 2014, in association with Black Jack Beers, this event will coincide with the release of their upcoming third EP, out 19th March 2014.
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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