Song of the Day: Gentlemen – Gentle Duke

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by DJ Shannon and featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Gentle Duke” by Gentlemen from the 2014 EP Night Reels II on Week Of Wonders.

Gentlemen – Gentle Duke (MP3)

Taking note of the heavy psychedelic British bands of the late ’60s and refining their sludgy fury into something more precise, London’s Gentlemen continue the lineage of those bands with their bold, slightly-warped jams. Formed in 2012 by vocalist Paul Housden, keyboardist Edward Housden, guitarist Philip Brillo, bassist Simon Shields, and drummer Geno Carrapetta, the quintet gained critical acclaim in their home base of London as part of a British psychedelic revival that includes Temples and Toy. While that grouping is more of a media construct than anything else, it’s true that Gentlemen are a (only partially English) psychedelic-influenced band whose take on the genre differentiates from some of their contemporaries by retaining a band-oriented sound as opposed to favoring studio-heavy craft. Case in point, the songs on the band’s two EPs – Night Reels I and Night Reels II – are more focused on the band’s natural chemistry and instrumental interplay than structured songwriting, but as this performance shows, that’s certainly not a bad thing. The song featured in the aforementioned link, “Gentle Duke” feels as regal and lush as its title suggests, riding the band’s psychedelic muscle for five minutes of heady bliss. Housden’s nasally whine slinks around the rhythm section, teaming up with his brother’s more soaring vocal style in the chorus, which rises and falls in sync with the band’s increasingly muscular playing as the song goes on. “Gentle Duke” may owe some debt to Gentlemen’s psychedelic predecessors, but by relying on the same kind of musicianship that’s held true in the genre for decades, they more than make them proud.

Gentlemen will be on the road all of next month supporting Teleman in the UK, but keep an eye on their website and Facebook in case they announce plans to tour Stateside. Below, watch the Edward Housden-directed video for “Gentle Duke.”

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