This Duncan Sheik article was written by Bex Suchecki, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Gavin Wells
Still remaining barely recognisable this side of the Atlantic is somewhat a bemusing truth for an American artist that has previously released a 29 track anthology (Brighter/Later) in 2006 and a 16 track ‘Greatest Hits’ album (Greatest Hits-Brighter) in 2007, respectively. The Self-titled debut album in 1996 showed Sheik to be an understated Folk/Rock Pop singer-songwriter of quality, so much so that the last decade or so has seen Sheik produce music for other projects including stage and film.
‘Legerdemain’ is Sheik’s 8th studio album and judging by opening track ‘Selling Out‘, a fresh, modern, innovative sound is present and apparent. An upbeat, Rock inspired Pop anthem – ‘Selling Out’ is a strong, catchy opener. Understated musician Sheik croons “She bought it all… even when I was selling out”. The track ‘Avalanche‘ is equally as impressive although leaving the Electric Guitar out of the equation and showcasing a new dabbling in Electro-Pop. “It’s not just love and romance, it’s an avalanche”. Sheik’s life/relationship inspired lyrics are still as visible as in previous albums.
This is an album of two halves. Because simply, after the fascinating Electro-pop/EDM styled track ‘Birmingham’, the album descends into down tempo mode – much like the Duncan Sheik signature sound of previous years. The more delicate and acoustic styled Folk/Pop Ballad sound is apparent and sure enough perhaps if this was an album to accompany an occasion or an emotion, it is not a stable listen because of the bridging between Electro-Pop and Folk/Pop acoustic.
Other strong offerings on this 16 track album include ‘Hey You’ (A melodic, melancholy Pop-Rock track with delicious chord changes), ‘Warning Light’ (A catchy EDM track) and ‘Distant Lovers’ – which is a chilled Pop-Rock wonder of good quality. The highlight of the album could well be ‘Acquaintance’, which is a sublime example of Sheik’s song-writing capability.
As touched on previously, this is a complex listen of two contrasting genres and tempo’s. In ‘Legerdemain’, honesty, heart-felt lyrics and originality are the three core musical attributes that Sheik brings to the table. Previous fans of the singer-songwriter needn’t fear this somewhat (At times) more up-tempo and experimental offering, for the signature sound/lyrical traits of other D.S albums are still present.
An intriguing, classy venture into Electro-Pop and a decent collection of Up-tempo/Acoustic sounds – showcasing a fresh approach to music production and song writing.