Considering that both members of Marmaduke Duke have day jobs in bands that regularly turn their amps up to 11 (Simon Neil is lead singer with Biffy Clyro, while JP Reid fronts fellow Ayrshire rockers Sucioperro), it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that their side project 'Duke Pandemonium' could possibly cause ear bleeds. Add to that the fact that this is the second in a series of 'conceptual rock' albums based around enigmatic figure 'The Duke', as well as the duo donning the titles of 'The Atmosphere' and 'The Dragon' and you have a potential recipe for self-indulgent disaster.
Yet 'Duke Pandemonium', for all its portentous omens, is an ambitious and creative album. Apart from one track - the seven minute-long 'Demon' - there's nary a trace of the overblown rock bombast that their respective day jobs entail; in fact, the majority of these ten tracks are guided by frenzied synth riffs and skewed drum beats.
On the downside, it means that it often sounds like a hundred different things are happening in each song, whether it's the neat twist of a guitar riff, a calypso breakdown, or a line that demands you 'Skin the motherf*cker alive' (all audible on 'Skin the Mofo') - impressive, yes, but sometimes dizzying. Then again, when they're merged with elements of pure funk and disco, like on the manic 'Everybody Dance', the springy, sci-fi rave clatter of 'Music Show', or the Billy Joel-sampling 'Rubber Lover', it's an irresistible combination.
Best of all, the duo can poke fun at themselves (see the genuinely brilliant, Flight of the Conchords-like 'Je Suis Un Funky Homme' and the chorus of electro-cheese number 'Erotic Robotic', which states in an American twang: "Despite the accent, we're Scottish".) Great stuff altogether.