Cuff the Duke isn’t Rush or the Mars Volta or any of the groups who regularly drop 10-minute jams on their fans.
But, as mentioned in my preview of the band’s upcoming concert, they’re doing things a differently this time around. For one, their latest, Morning Comes, is one of two thematically connected records that will be released a year apart.
They also put out their longest song to date. At seven minutes and forty-nine seconds, “Bound to Your Own Vices” is a big track.
“It was sorta four songs that I could never quite finish,” says frontman Wayne Petti. “Then, I sat down one day and linked them together, coming with some cool chords that could change the key into the next movement of it, so to speak and then I demoed it and sent it out to the guys, asking, ‘Is this crazy, or is this going to work?’
“Once they got their hands on it, it was off to the races, really.”
The idea of an alt-country epic is a bit of a novel one and, to the credit of Petti and Co., they pull it off. When I first listened to the album, it was on an online stream and I wasn’t paying attention to how the song was. Seeing the track listing, I was surprised at the run time. Even with the best songs of this length you still normally realize how long they are.
I let Petti know about my surprise, and he was pretty pleased.
“When we were done it, we kinda thought, ‘Holy crap, this thing’s eight minutes.’ But you listen back, and we all kinda looked at each other, ‘It moves along.’
“I think it’s because it starts and we’re all sitting around this kitchen playing acoustic, then moves into this two popier numbers and then rocks out and then mellows out and then it rocks out again at the end.
“It shifts gears so many times that keeps your attention. It shouldn’t really labour you to listen to it.”
Cuff the Duke is playing with Hooded Fang Saturday, October 22 at the Exchange.