There’s always something endearing about a musician that can single-handedly construct an entire album. Particularly a musician like Christopher (C ) Duncan who, from vocals to viola records each instrument individually to create a thick, textured wall of sound that borrows inspiration from genres such as pastoral folk, pop and psychedelia. His classical upbringing has also demonstrated itself to be another key influence in his music, notable since the release of his first single, Say. That single has now become the opener for Duncan’s debut album Architect, and with its slightly haunting cathedral-like vocals paired with a very danceable bass line, it sets the tone for a record that has somehow become a perfect amalgamation of vibrance and gloom.
The title track is a song you could just as easily wake up to as you could fall asleep to it. Like many songs on the album, there are components to it that are reminiscent of a lullaby, yet it also acts as an aural representation of an exhilarating stroll on a hot summer’s day. Garden is probably the grooviest peak of the album, demonstrating vocal melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on an early Flaming Lips track. It can seem almost unworldly how Duncan manages to take this album on a path that is elevated by euphoria-injected anthems like Here To There, only to dip straight down into the solemn territory of dark, string-smothered Novices, then back out again.
But somehow, not a single song seems out of place on this record. Instead, it delivers as clever, dimensional and in many ways innovative. Duncan has created an album that is ethereal by nature, filled with instrumental passages that dance around one another independently, eventually merging seamlessly into one mind-bendingly impactful soundscape.