Ducking Punches - Dance Before You Sleep (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Ducking Punches

Dance Before You Sleep (2014)

No Panic! Records

Here's the hard sell for those of you who might find this a useful connection: Ducking Punches is a band formed by Dan Allen, a guy who whilst on guitar tech duties with Frank Turner ended up playing guitar in place of Turner when he was suffering with back problems that could have curtailed the live performances. This same guy also happens to drum in a band called Bad Ideas (check them out, they're good). Ducking Punches have also recently been supporting Turner on live dates in Europe as a thank you for Allen's assistance. There you have it – if you're a fan of Frank Turner then you might well warm to this. I, on the other hand, have no time for Frank Turner but I have plenty of time for the folk/acoustic/punk of Ducking Punches.

Across this body of work, the song titles tend towards the less than positive with "It's Been A Bad Few Weeks", "Cursed Luck", "The Art OF Falling Short" and "Why Can't We Hold It Together" hinting at a well of melancholy that helps these songs take form. There is a sense of downheartedness to be heard but it's far from being overbearing, and if anything the songs tend to have an uplifting quality through some soaring and catchy choruses. The use of the violin in some of the songs helps with both the tempo and also the atmosphere of the tracks and along with Allen's distinctive voice, the backing vocals of Sophie Porter creates chinks of light to offset any doom and gloom inherent in the record.

Acoustic music is omnipresent these days – I do wonder how long it will last and often muse upon a turning of the tide when there is a full on return to a more full on, electric delivery. My concern is that we are destined to be drowned in a sea of well meaning, but often inadequate singer/songwriters. For now, we're lucky to have the likes of Ducking Punches who are well short on deficiencies and long on talent thus providing the world with an album worth checking out.