Release Date: October 4, 2011
Paper Bag Records; 10 Tracks; CD, LP, DD
Review by: Lee Fraser
If this new album from Cuff the Duke is the low side of a two-album release, the high side is going to blow us away.
"I won't turn and walk away, you can count on me" sings Wayne Petti, and it's certainly true of the music we love from Cuff the Duke. The band releases their fifth full-length album, the first of a planned two-album release, with this album having a theme of loss and the yet-to-be-released second half being a more upbeat album. Given that the press releases stated the album, Morning Comes, would deal with loss, this reviewer was a bit apprehensive. The slower ballads of Cuff the Duke are brilliant pieces of music, but it is the upbeat songs with strong choruses that really make the live show. The apprehension was misplaced, as it turns out.
There are a few ballads, each sweet and sorrowful, each using different musical arrangements to be very distinctive. But it's not all doom and gloom, lyrically: only one song is about dying. The remainder of the album focuses on a subject we can all relate to: the collapse of relationships. There are lyrics about bitterness towards past lovers, anger over an ugly break-up, fretting over an eminent break-up, lamenting over the attempts to save a relationship... all the bases are covered.
The band does not stray away from the sound they are known for: acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, a beautiful sounding Gretsch and a solid rhythm section are intricately woven together. Wayne Petti's vocals strain and ache. There's an occasional accompaniment by piano and some very subtle guitar effects to listen for. Most of the tracks are upbeat and fun to sing along with. "You Don't Know What It's Like" will be fun at a live show, regardless of whether you have had a difficult ex. The foot-stomping "Bound to Your Own Vices" conjures up images of the members of the band sitting on an old, rambling front porch, breaking into a spontaneous sing-along. You can just picture Petti's grin during the bridge.
All in all, Morning Comes is a very solid addition to the Cuff the Duke library. For long-time fans, the new material will be a welcome add to the mixture at a live show. The band will play a couple of small in-store performances in Toronto the week of the album's release, and then start touring Canada with Hooded Fang. They will play the Horseshoe on November 25 and 26. These are extremely likely to be great shows; don't miss the opportunity to see Cuff The Duke at their home away from home.