C Duncan


C Duncan’s career has been transformed in the past few weeks. He released his debut album Architect and has had his lead single ‘Garden’ played a number of times on BBC6Music – and it’s probably playing now. This increased exposure, explains why there are just six tickets left on the door tonight – all of which are snapped up instantly by enthusiastic fans.

The first song of tonight though does not fall in line with this hype. It is meek, mild and will take a lot more to convince many of us tonight that his work is worthy of such support. However, people normally only get behind someone if they have something to say and on ‘He Believes in Miracles’, the next song, C Duncan does. This one is dreamy, draws comparisons with Animal Collective and does what all good music does – throws up images and landscapes, which take us to someplace other, someplace outside of ourselves.

The ambiguously titled ‘For’ is started with a rhythmic whistle from C Duncan, before his band join him to provide some beautiful Alt J-esque backing. Despite the nice ending, the song never really grows from this beautiful introduction and quickly enters the realm of mediocrity. In a similar way to how ‘He Believes Miracles’ raised the bar, ‘The Architect’ does exactly the same and is at least one or two levels above its predecessor ‘For.’ The title here fits the song perfectly, as each note, each vocal is perfectly constructed but sadly it is not representative of all the songs off the record.

‘By’ draws comparisons with Beirut, but, again, fails to carry on the consistent quality C Duncan is so desperately in need of. Unsurprisingly, ‘Garden’ is the best song tonight and rewards the support it has received from many of the country’s leading radio DJs, one of whom, Stuart Maconie, is in attendance tonight. The rest of tonight’s set never quite reaches this height and the mood in the crowd remains sober. The crowd are still enjoying themselves, but the performance has been so full of peaks and drops that it has been hard for them to find a consistent level from which to enjoy tonight’s show.

In summary, tonight is patchy. This is of no reflection of the man himself, who comes across as a completely lovely guy. But, for me it is a bi-polar performance, going from the highest of heights to the lowest of lows. However, if he can re-create the quality of ‘Garden’ and ‘Architecht’, more consistently on future records, then I’m sure he has a great future ahead. Whatever tonight has been to you, mediocre, lacking inspiration or simply average – I really wouldn’t count C Duncan out too soon.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.