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dunkie - Working To Design (SWND Records) 

6 November 2020

One thing that is prevalent in music, and album releases of this modern time, they are safe. Albums have become collections of tracks which sound good together, where there is nothing wrong with that, listeners, and audiences are always on the search for an adventure. This is where the latest work by Welsh outfit Dunkie enters the equation. Their release Working To Design is a cinematic, intelligent outing, with tracks that speak about reality and not escaping from it. Indeed, the themes running through the album of love, loss, fear, takes the listener on a journey feel into the heart of humanity, oneself and the memories we hold dear which wither over time. 

Taking such a strong and immense effort to build these seventeen tracks has taken Dunkie quite a while to complete. But it has proved a labour of love, as artistic statements such as this, are a rarity because of the time consumption between starting and finishing a project. And that is why Working To Design should be investigated, if not celebrated. 

With the structure of the work aside, questions such as- does it work? And how does it sound? 
Come front and centre, truthfully the narrative flows subtly, not overpowering the work. Which help the tracks stand out on their own, not just as a part of a larger picture, but it sounds wonderfully cohesive and vibrant. With lots of influences within the mix, along with a passionately pronounced deliver, it is an inspiring listen. The voice of Anthony Price is evoking enough emotion to mix with the listeners, connecting and sharing the thoughts that fire each song. 

Opening with “Introduction- So Little Time”, the poetic, atmospheric thriller begins. With a whispering of “tick-tock”, the album opens up, the fragility and unstoppable force of time which is an enemy of us all. With a backdrop of some phased and beautiful guitar work. Beginning up pace with “The White Hole”, the riffs behind the vocals give an added depth to the track as it moves with some urgency. Cutting into the heavier, drench of “Can A Song Save Your Life”, reminiscent of nineties Ash, given a fresh dimension. With seaside noises to hammer down the theme, the sweet movements give way to string and wind instruments. 

The chirpy “Rabbit Hole” keeps the momentum upbeat, sailing into the toe-tapping, organ driven “I Don’t Wanna Die In Minnesota {Part II}”, a slice of brilliance anchored in both the past and this modern age. After an intermission with some ambience and soft vocals the album erupts with “(W.A.L.L.S.) Within A Little Love Song”, some epic power chords over which vocals soar. “1896” keeps things melodic and harmonious on top a wall of sound that swells throughout. Whereas, the idea of time-travel comes into play, like we all as humans wish we could turn back time, and do things differently. 

With church bells, breakbeats “Sugar” takes shape, a u-turn from earlier tracks, examining the love that becomes loss and memories which bring comfort. With another intermission, Working To Design takes the listener into the final act with the magnificent “The Kaleidoscope ~ Refraction”. Followed by the epic, electronic experimentation of “71-41-11”, on any other album this track may appear out of place, here Dunkie make it fit in, and that is their talent. The creative arc may be one side to the band, but they have a knack of keeping their audience riveted. A central theme to this section,  “The Memory Tree” is an acoustic, uplifting look back over life. The melodies of “Through Endless Eyes” will capture your attention and weld you to the spot, it is a song that breathes bliss flowing effortlessly. Like life itself Working To Design comes to a finale with “Closure – 1972”, the vocals of guest Jennifer O’Neill Howard is the right move to close this epice piece of work. With angelic voices coming together, into one dynamic sound. Before the whispering of “tick-tock” to herald that the journey has come full circle. 

This is some sublime stuff, with a beautifully executed production, and arrangements that exhibit a talent. Not only for crafting songs, but for forging ideas, and using the studio as a musical instrument in its own right. While Dunkie hope to get Working To Design released on a physical format, I do so hope that includes vinyl so the staggering artwork can be appreciated along with the music. 

Track List: 
1.~ Introduction – So Little Time ~    
2.The White Hole
3.Can A Song Save Your Life?    
4.Rabbit Hole    
5.I Don’t Wanna Die In Minnesota {Part II} 
6.I Think I’ve Been Asleep (All My Life) 
7.~ Intermission – An Ode To A Flea ~ 
8.(W.A.L.L.S.) Within A Little Love Song    
12.~ Interlude – Choke ~    
13.The Kaleidoscope ~ Refraction    
15.The Memory Tree    
16.Through Endless Eyes 
17.~ Closure – 1972 ~ 

From Bandcamp Notes; 
All monies help towards funding the physical release of the limited x300 copies CD box set version of the album; this will include a 24 CD inlay booklet, the CD album/sleeve, Dunkie merchandise (badges, stickers & magnet) and a CD demo version of the album. 

For more info;