The Duel “Hold To Love”
You know you’re onto something when your first big punk show is opening for the Dead Kennedys. And when your MySpace page goes viral in an age of dial-up and Instant Messenger, it’s a good indicator that things are on the right track. But despite the initial clamor and commotion, The Duel didn’t pioneer UK’s DIY punk scene overnight, and they certainly didn’t do it by following the same rubric as their contemporaries. Thus is the story of their sixth studio album Waging War: Hold to Love, an opus that’s pillared by strong work ethic and a disdain for convention.
Formed in London in 2001, The Duel is comprised of vocalist Tara Rez and keyboardist/bassist Andy Theirum. After several years of refining their sound, the now wave/punk rock outfit released their debut album Let’s Finish What We Started in 2007. The record, along with their subsequent releases — Childish Behaviour (2009), All Aboard The Crazy Train (2011), Soundtrack To The End Of The World (The Zak Splash Story) , and Waging War (2014) — garnered enough traction to earn them support slots alongside Buzzcocks, Utah Saints, UK Subs, The Slits, Peter Hook, and Sham 69. Having toured internationally and appeared at high profile festivals such as Rebellion Punk Music Fest, they’ve also been praised by media outlets Viva Le Rock and Big Cheese Magazine.
“I think the problem with DIY is that too many bands and promoters are too busy ‘doing it themselves,’” Rez explains. “Though DIY sounds romantic, it’s real hard work. And in the absence of some team behind you, it can be a bit of a slog if it gets left to one person. I prefer the term DIY together, cause when individuals unite and work together, we re more likely to make a dent on the music industry that’s got its own exclusivity and problems.”
Using the blueprints of punk rock’s forefathers, The Duel’s new record Waging War: Hold to Love is centralized around the motif of togetherness. Reminiscent at times of Blondie and The Ramones, the band has constructed an edifice that towers over the kitsch of pop culture, and marshals the DIY punk scene into new territory.
Says Rez, “DIY together means making up the rules yourself and playing the game exactly how you want to. And do it with a tapping foot, nodding head and ping in the heart.”
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