Songs Nine Through Sixteen
DBUK is more formally known as Denver Broncos UK and is based out of Denver, CO. They are an offshoot of the experimental rock band Slim Cessna’s Auto Club (SCAC) in a slightly different configuration and a sound that some have described as Gothic Americana- a dark blend of Folk, Country, and Rock. As you probably guessed from the title Songs One Through Eight has previously been released. If you’ve heard the dark, foreboding music of SCAC, the sound of DBUK will not be all that surprising, but for many it is a bit more accessible. Count me in that group. It’s clearly more subdued, ethereal and intimate with strings and percussion reminiscent of an agrarian, pre-industrial time.
DBUK consists of the four core members of Denver’s Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Munly J Munly, Slim Cessna, Lord Dwight Pentacost and Rebecca Vera. DBUK released all songs – one through sixteen as double CD in Europe in advance of their tour which begins next month. This album was culled from recording sessions that stretch back to 2006. If you didn’t know about the band’s history or pedigree, you’d likely guess this was perhaps a singer-songwriter solo album because Munly’s commanding baritone voice and rhythm guitar deliver these often weird stories in a gothic way that conjures up visions of Phantom of the Opera or maybe something even creepier. Slim contributes ad hoc percussion and mostly falsetto backing vocals. Lord Dwight Pentacost and Rebecca Vera add additional sonic flairs with traditional instruments, cello being prominent, as well as additional harmony vocals. Tempos drag. The music is meant to be both interesting and a bit depressing too. After all, murder ballads are at the core.
The haunting music often begins sparingly and builds to crescendos, through the combination of voice and mostly acoustic instruments. Don’t be surprised to hear a banjo, melodica or some strange percussion here and there too. These are Munly’s tunes and are requisitely dark. On the first single, a good indicator of their overall sound, “In San Francisco Bay”, melodica unwinds a tango melody combined with four-part vocals, maybe demented chanting is a better way of putting it. The arrangements on Songs Nine Through Sixteen are complex, layered, and unpredictable. That’s the best part of it — one moment it’s menacing but at times the intertwining of voices and instruments can be gorgeous.
The opener “Bonnie Clyde, The Big-Bull-Hen Of The Women’s Prison” is not immediately grabbing nor is “Deerslayer” but the third song “From The Estate Of John Denver” is epic and, by far, the standout track. The fifth song “Coca-Colonalism” is also a great song due to the vocal harmonies and one of the highlights. All considered, it’s a bit uneven but does have its great moments. And, you won’t hear a sound like DBUK in other bands. That alone, is worth the listen.
Munly Munly ~ vocals and acoustic guitar
Lord Dwight Pentacost ~ vocals, melodica, autoharp, banjo, bowed banjo, percussion
Slim Cessna ~ vocals, washtub drum and percussion
Rebecca Vera ~ vocals, cello, keyboard and percussion
- Jim Hynes