Dutchess & the Duke: Sunset/Sunrise

Dutchess & the Duke
(Hardly Art)

In 2008 Seattle musicians Kimberly Morrison and Jesse Lortz came together as the Dutchess and the Duke and released one of the year’s finest debut albums with She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke. The two, better known for their time in local punk rock bands at the time, bypassed the heavy crunch of guitars and favored the acoustic guitar for more of a folksy sound.

Less than two years after their full length debut, The Dutchess & the Duke return with the splendid follow up Sunrise/Sunset. The sophomore effort finds Morrison and Lortz expanding their sound from their folk rock debut to add a more polished recording, thanks in part to producer Greg Ashley of the band Gris Gris. Ashley added in his guitars and keyboard playing, but it wasn’t enough to take the spotlight off Morrison and Lortz. The two still have their special connection when writing and playing their songs.

The simplicity of Sunrise/Sunset is its beatuy when you find string orchestration and percussive beats sprinkled in throughout the album. With Lortz handling the lion’s share of the lead vocals, Morrison chimes in adding striking harmonies to the 10 tracks. Though the changes are subtle for the Dutchess & the Duke, the slight progress makes this duo a stronger self-assured band.