This is the re-mixed and re-mastered re-issue for The Duel's album Soundtrack To The End Of The World (The Zak Splash Story) that may have seemed a bit over dramatic when it was first recorded and released in 2012, but the world has changed for the worse since then, but also sadly for The Duel, who as one of the brightest bands who found me on Myspace having formed in 2001. Then in 2014 Andy Therium was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis that sadly brought the band to a stop, a portion or the proceeds from this re-issue will go to the MS Society.
Tara Rez was always the bands spokesperson and the force who found anyone she thought might get them and pester them to listen and go and see The Duel, she was and is very proud of her band with Andy Therium, they often performed as just a duo or as a four piece.
The opening of this album The Intro is a long mainly instrumental rock piece with good keyboards and guitar to build things up nicely before the story gets underway properly. That if you believe Max Splodge's narration is about Zak Splash, who had one hit Splash On You with his band Splash before falling for his very own Nancy Spungen, acquiring the mother of all drug habits, what happened to him along the way, to how he got his life and career back with an ad for a pregnancy test. The tale unfolds between the songs and differs somewhat from my comments.
Invincible is good furious and speedy indie-punk with Tara Rez's vocals letting us know just how Invincible Zak felt and how much he didn't want to die, as always with The Duel, who I mainly saw live rather than hearing on record, this is nice and catchy.
Less Every Day has more upfront vocals and sounds more produced than Invincible, as the guitar soars and is the perfect foil for the lyrics about escape and feeling like the whole world is falling apart, Tara's vocals make sure you know why she no longer cares about Zak in time for a properly squiggly guitar solo.
You Can Do It was very much the mantra of The Duel and for anyone who Tara found on Myspace and made friends with her, will know like I did, that she was tireless in proving that she could do it, that they would be ok, it turned out somewhat different, but this song is about keeping going no matter how things go awry you should still keep trying to achieve your goals.
Fake Like You was always a live favorite and on this album version has a good driving power as Tara has a go at all the fakers that they come across. Love Me Do is thankfully nothing to do with that dreadful Beatles song, but is instead about someone struggling with a day job while trying to make it, also suffering from mental health issues that the docs are giving them drugs for, when truly all they really want is some love and attention.
The narration includes the ad for a pregnancy testing kit before the song Splash On You that features Max Splodge as guest vocalist who keeps telling us he'll Splash On You, that sounds dangerously like golden Shower territory, but is more about a publicity splash, or splashing on a pregnancy test strip, as the punky backing builds and Tara acts more as backing vocalist.
The album closes with Fire Goes Out that has more of a punky reggae feel and great keyboards as Tara asks what you're gonna do when the Fire goes Out and you find yourself back at square one once more, can you take that rejection and re-build your life and career once more. A situation that in real life was obviously complicated by Andy having MS and how that attacks your body and makes it harder and harder to do things, you should take for granted you will always be able to do. This song has several hints at the band's connections to the Ruts DC in the way it fuses the punk and reggae together a really great closing song for a band that were always worth seeing live.
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