C Duncan

Grandstand Media, 2015

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


It is hard to deny that C Duncan’s debut effort Architect is a breath of fresh air. He deserves high praise for what he has done here, and how he has achieved it.


Duncan has taken the type of music that the many hip indie bands inspired by gloomy dreampop sensibilities would create, and he has given it full-on choral treatment. This peculiar music style of Duncan’s is gentle and has the comforting feel of a warm sweater. Now, a sweater might feel cozy and warm, but it doesn’t always necessarily make a great fashion statement. However, unlike an ugly sweater that one might receive as a Christmas gift, Duncan totally rocks it with his “nicey-nicey” music outfit.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Architect is an album that has songs like “Garden,” “Here To There” and “By,” which are your typical dark and catchy numbers that could be found on any of the numerous ethereal indie records out there. Given how superb these tracks are, they would probably make great candidates for highlights on any other indie album, and they do on Architect as well. However, when you consider the diametrically opposite facet of this album, consisting of tracks like “Silence And Air,” “He Believes In Miracles,” “For,” “Say,” and “Architect,” you need a totally new – and much higher – bar of rating. These are the songs in particular where Duncan totally unleashes his folksy choral hymn-like style, and they are the ones that are sure to bring a tear to one’s eye with their aching beauty, featuring gorgeous melodies to Duncan’s soft and tender vocal harmonies.

The sentimental nature of the music on this record as a whole, combined with Duncan’s crooning romantic vocals, give it a rather cinematic vibe, something that might befit a “holiday” movie (“I’ll Be Gone By Winter,” more than other songs, sure sounds like it should be in a Disney movie) – that is, if there ever was a movie of such ilk that wasn’t as cheesy as the drivel that one usually finds in this particular motion picture category. Duncan’s music sure sounds warm and comforting; at the same time, however, it is also dark and isolating, and Duncan plays this dichotomy to perfection, which is why this album is so amazing.

The musical composition and vocal arrangements, combined with the overall production on this record, are just perfect. They seem almost too perfect for an album that was recorded by Duncan all by himself, at his home in Glasgow on his bedroom studio setup. Putting this fact in perspective, with the richness and musical depth of this album, it is impossible not to be in total awe of Duncan. This Scottish lad and his debut release are absolute treasures!

Rating: A

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