Detwiije: Would You Rather Be Followed By Forty Ducks for the Rest of Your Life? (Gizeh Recordings, 2005)
Detwiije’s expansive, guitar driven instrumental rock ala Mogwai and Godspeed, You Black Emperor is quickly becoming a common staple in my cd player. Would You Rather be Followed by Forty Ducks for the Rest of Your Life? is Detwiije’s first full length release and boasts four tracks of splendid, patient instrumental post-rock. This five-member band has the ability to create emotive and uproarious moments with incredible precision and maturity. Ben Levy, Al Harle, Ellie Wilson, Ben Seal, and Shea Hagan make impressive artful expressions. My only hope is that they make much more soon and come to the states to tour.
The first track on Forty Ducks is the title track “Would You Rather be Followed by Forty Ducks for the Rest of Your Life?” It begins with full energy, making use of glistening guitars, forceful percussion, and beautiful violin. Yes, there is a violinist in Detwiije. The best thing about the violin in this band is that it is in no way used as a novelty instrument but lends a purposeful and fulfilling roll in the music. Shortly after the beginning of this 6.5 minute track, there is a complete silent moment, and then the guitars are picked and the build begins at a less rapid pace. The violin weeps on beds of exquisitely patient guitar work and percussion. There are moments of brilliant, noisy crescendo, while the violin haunts the speakers with perfect touches. “Misspelt Dutch Architect” follows “Ducks” and is the longest rack on the disc, clocking in at 15:08 minutes. It begins as a quiet and slow tempo piece. Guitars light strum over minimal percussion and stops. Detwiije are masters at playing with volume. The violin comes in and just weeps through the speakers. It’s just beautiful. This is complimented by guitar picking and understated drums and bass. The build in this song is slow and patient, using volume and slight variations in speed to move through the song. Eventually, the guitars soar and the percussion and bass hits a staccato that pushes under the violin and whines of the guitars. A march is played on the snare while guitars shriek in the background and fuzz and feedback are skillfully used. The beautiful violin comes in once again. The crescendo hits all at once and has a sense of urgency about it. The ending of the song has a bright, shining feel, as if the band has come out of some sort of tragedy and there has been resolution. This is a beautifully emotive piece that never gets lost or waivers.
“POP” brings back weeping violin and simple guitar work with purposeful percussion. This is the shortest track on the disc, clocking in at 3:24 minutes. It’s a simple track with great bass work, flowing violins, and great quiet moments. “La Guerre des Mondes” rounds out the disc and clocks in at 14:57 minutes. It begins with a great guitar hook that sets up the tempo and feel of the song. A creeping guitar comes into the mix as cymbals add to the feel. The violin floats between everything and then the drums come into the mix with the bass. This moves into a slower paced moment with soaring violin, fuzz, and a lot of work on the toms. Eventually, the song picks up speed and starts to really drive. The drum work on this song is most impressive and very pleasurable to listen to. The song builds at about a third the way through to an incredible wall of sound. This must be incredible live because it’s certainly amazing on disc. Mid-way through the track, the violin cries and the guitars become silenced with bass as the support, perhaps a moment of melancholy amidst the rancor of noise. The ending minutes of this song are expressive a passionate, having intricate drumming, layered guitars, complex bass work, and glistening violin. This track is probably my favorite on the disc and anchors the other three tracks perfectly.
This album is a 10 out of 10 for me. Perfect instrumental execution is fused with emotive moments, both loud and quiet. Dewiije have certainly given a gift to the world with their first full length. I can’t wait for more.