Desmond and His Tutus

from band website

FOR A LOT OF NEW INDIE ROCK BANDS, I swear so many got this really light and airy sound to their music. I’m sure there’s a bunch of bands out there who stray from this, but from my limited experience with the genre presently, the sound is pretty consistent. While South African 4-man band Desmond and the Tutus (DT) has taken on some of that pop-light vibe into their music, they for sure aren’t afraid to mess around with different styles. Some songs, see Youth Group Leader and Trust Fund Love, have a more traditional rock sound and while others, like Roll Me Up, end up more funky. That diversity is what really stuck out to me when I first found them.

What helps is that lead singer Shane Durrant has this super cool, unique voice that when he hits some notes, sounds like it almost belongs in heavy metal band. This allows the band to really own the more aggressive style when they want to.

So many people complain they don’t like an artist’s new music because it’s too different from their early work, which is just fucking dumb to me. Even if an artist’s new sound isn’t something you like, at the very least appreciate they aren’t content and want to continue growing. It may hit or it may not, that’s all part of the creative growth. With DT, it’s real cool to listen to each of their 3 albums and see how much their sound has evolved over their career. Maybe it’s a reflection of how indie rock has changed during that time, but each album has a unique sound that acts as a timestamp for the band’s life, clearly noting if you’re listening to early, middle, or current DT.

On their 1st album Truckstop, DT leans more on the drums than they have any point since. For this work, the percussion comes off much more aggressive and pronounced in the beats, giving the album a real garage band feel to it. They sound young here, but it acts like a breath of fresh air and has a few songs that really stood out to me - Crazy Rebel being my personal favorite.

Their second album Enjoy Yourself, isn’t just the most adventurous but it also lets guitarist Douglas Bower and bassist Nicolas Dinnie take some dope creative freedom on many songs. Personally, this album is my favorite of the 3, littered with songs I have on repeat, with Pretoria Girls, Lazy Bones, and Better Friends finding the most replay value. All the songs on this album fit together and balance one another well, but I don’t feel like there’s a lot of repetition in the sound, making for their most diverse album, at least sound wise.

Their most recent project Desmond is cool, but it seems to rely more on that airy, pop sound that has been dominating indie rock. Not that it’s bad, there’s definitely still stand outs (IMO Crazy Ones and Magazines), but they trade that sense of adventure on Enjoy Yourself for a “fun” sound this time around. What I do appreciate about this album is that even if the sound evolves in a direction I don’t necessarily prefer, they still just make the music they want and are genuinely themselves. Throughout their career, they approach topics they have an issue with and it's more of the same here - Hard Work is an obvious example of this, giving their opinion(s) on social media. The album is definitely a cool one and to each their own, but if I gotta choose one, gimme that second album over the rest.

PERSONAL FAVORITES: Lazy Bones, Pretoria Girls, Crazy Rebel, Saggy Bottom Speedo Swimmer, Magazines, Crazy One

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