Few things in life are certain and creating music is often
one of the most spontaneous. For ex-punk-turned-1960s-folk-revivalist duo The
Dutchess & The Duke (Kimberly Morrison and Jesse Lortz, respectively), this
spontaneity slid off of their accidentally unplugged national tour and back
into the studio before a single note for a new album had been written.
Joining up with producer Greg Ashley (frontman of Gris Gris)
in his analog-equipped studio in Oakland, Sunset / Sunrise
adds a much broader sound than their previous debut, She’s the Dutchess, I’m the Duke, with grandiose strings, piano,
and layered harmonies.
Written during his wife’s pregnancy, Sunset finds Lortz in a new place. Gone is the resentment and anger
that riddled him in the past. Rather, Lortz has now set his sights on the future to
battle apprehension, uncertainty and even a little hopefulness.
A theme consistent through the album, “Let it Die” pairs a
cheery tune with darker lyrics. Panicking over his impending fatherhood, Lortz
barrels into the chorus to reiterate, “I don’t want to be here no more,”
through a whir of jangling tambourine and light-hearted backup vocals. “Hands”
is paired with a haunting organ before bursting into a chorus filled with
urgency and a Spanish-flavored guitar solo. Morrison takes the lead in the
dramatic “When You Leave My Arms”, where the devastation of infidelity is
echoed by swirling strings and crashing cymbals.
An album masterfully crafted to revive the retro sound of
the 1960s in all of its structure and aural cues, Sunset / Sunrise chronicles melancholy hopes and fears that relate to