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Mark Nicholas – Duchess 33

Mark Nicholas - Duchess 33

CD, Dirty Electronic, 2007

Known to many Synthpop fans around the world as the mastermind behind the band Cosmicity, Mark Nicholas’ new project under his given name offers something quite different to what his audience are used to. Although the memorable melodies of Cosmicity are still present, something much dirtier and debauched has emerged in his music. To say a change has come into effect is quite simply an understatement! The days of good natured 80’s influenced Synthpop have now seemingly been discarded to be replaced by dirty beats, twisted synth arrangements and perverse tongue-in-cheek lyrics. In other words, the era of dirty electronic has begun!
Being a fan of his work under the Cosmicity guise, hearing “Duchess 33″ (a title derived from Mark’s porn name!) really did come as a bit of surprise. To classify this album would be a difficult task for any reviewer, so to use the term ‘Dirty Electronic’ to describe it would more than likely be a sufficient and accurate term. To quote the man himself on the style of his music, this pretty much sums it all up.”Depeche Mode bitch-slaps Trent Reznor right after he finishes screwing Allison Goldfrapp on soiled Prodigy-themed bedsheets. Oh, and still a little like Cosmicity too”. As you can probably tell from that description this album is certainly diverse in every manner of speaking. Tracks such as “Trying To Impress You”, and “Green” both have hints of late 80’s/ early 90’s Industrial attached to them, not that dissimilar to that of early NIN. On other tracks such as “Perverse” and the insanely awesome and addictive “Two Sandwiches”, Mark has quite clearly been influenced by the ever-growing underground Electro House scene. There are even elements of Hip-Hop in the track “Backlash”, so you can probably see just why this album is so difficult to pin into one catergory. Lyrically the albums themes are that of sex, perversion, more sex, mid-life crisis’, swearing, oh and did I mention sex?
With an album as diverse as this it really would be a chore to get bored of it so easily. Ok, the tail end of the album does unfortunately have some fairly weak tracks, but on the whole this album puts the fun back into music. If you like your music a bit zany, twisted and downright wrong at times then look no further, “Duchess 33” will deliver.


— Paul Marcham

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