It's neither here nor there, but I've spent a total of 72 hours in London, England, and everytime I listen to Duologue, I feel like I'm right back there. The London-based band recorded this session in the same castle-like studio -- inside a church that appeared as if it might honestly be a thousand years old - that was the reason for the long flight, in the first place. There's no telling what the weather was doing on the day that they recorded, as I wasn't there in late January, but the way it was when I was there was the whole grab bag that it seems like the place could be known for. The first day was a balmy day - good for eating the first-ever helping of wild boar and pounding ale after ale after an all-night flight.
From then on, the weather went in and out, between pissy fucking rain and less pissy, but still fucking rain. It all evened out with an unseasonably chilly night after the rains had stopped. The puddles were on the thin streets of the city as we came out of the club, having seen Nathaniel Rateliff (with the Mumford and Sons lads popping up on stage for a few songs with their bud) and Pete Roe play in an underground club, just down the street from the Chipotle and an erotic bookstore that had a pretty great selection of rock and roll biographies. We all wandered to another tiny and crowded place with a secret knock and a bitchy woman who looked like a man owner. It was a place that you would have never thought you'd see Sienna Miller in a million years, but there she was. After the bitchy owner got to be too much, we retreated to a rooftop bar that required another secret knock.
Everything seemed a bit surreal, as we rode the buzz of jetlag and day-long pint destroying. Duologue, the group that's made up of beats programmer Toby Leeming, lead singer Tim Digby-Bell, violinist Seb Dilleyston, bassist Ross Stone and guitarist Toby Lee, creates a feeling like you might be a singular person wandering a strange land, going wherever you'd like, taking as much as you want to drink from barkeeps who don't ask for anything in return and knowing all of the secret knocks. None of it makes any sense. There are the puddles on the ground - the same ones, you sense - from the times that you remember. There's an odd light that mixes with the air and the sky. Breathing it all in, sucking all of that light in through the eyes and just letting it kick in, makes your skin prick up some. Digby-Bell sews entire nights into these intricate and fully engaging songs about heaving and thumping people moving through their darknesses. Everything about these songs feels like it's here and it's happening elsewhere. There is an incredible palpitation to every second of these songs as they thrum along, soaring in the shadows and the spooky, but alive entrails.
*Essay originally published March, 2012