Ducking Punches return with their latest studio album, Alamort, later this month, the follow up to 2016’s well received Fizzy Brain.
The band’s fifth album marks the culmination of the evolution of their sound. Having started as the solo acoustic project of vocalist and guitarist Dan Allen, Alamort sees the band all but abandon the acoustic inspired sounds and rolling instrumentation associated with a folk-punk act. Instead this record is a full-bodied alt-rock record which blends melody and texture with more conventional post-hardcore and punk elements.
Singles ‘Smoking Spot’ and ‘Distant Shadows’ are packed with thundering percussion and thick riffs, providing a perfect window into the album for new listeners. Despite their East Anglian roots, the band seem as at home in the company of emo-revivalists in the US such as The Hotelier as UK folk-rock stalwart Frank Turner and Alamort is all the better for this depth and range. There are even some post-punk motifs with the reverb heavy guitar work on ‘Distant Shadows’. The anthemic ‘I Ruin Everything’ is the only really acoustic moment on the album and it hints at a bigger arena sound for the band with its remorseful reflections on personal failings and regrets.
Vocally, Allen sounds driven, impassioned and at times pained, reflective of the inspiration behind the record. The band explore some deeply personal moments throughout, no more than on their latest single, ‘Sobriety’ as Allen explores the addictive aspects of his personality and the impact it has had on him and others in his life. Alamort is taken from an old English term meaning to be ‘half dead from exhaustion’ and it seems this record is an acknowledgement of the draining lifestyle of a touring band.
This seems to have forced Ducking Punches into a reflective place, with Allen saying, “Alamort seemed a fitting title for what myself and the band have been through recently. Some of these songs are frighteningly honest but it has been really therapeutic to write. Themes of the album range from crippling self-doubt to death, friendship, love, witch-hunters, addiction and hope.” As such, Alamort is a record rooted in personal experience rather than the politicised messages of the likes of Frank Turner, making it instantly accessible and relatable for listeners.
‘With Unfounded Hope’ sets the tone early as Allen reflects that, “I always thought I’d find some comfort in this art,” whilst ‘Smoking Spot’ reflects on past experiences as a teen, seeking solace and autonomy and ‘Je Vais Mourir’ is dark and pensive. Some tracks tread a more generic path, such as ‘Missing You Is Killing Me’ but the band sounds as though they are in a purple patch musically and creatively throughout. Nowhere is this more evident than on the fantastic ‘A Club With No Name’, a mature track that balances loud and quiet with ease, and in the songwriting of ‘Face The Faxe’.
Ducking Punches – completed by Dan Allen, Pete Wright, Marcus Gooda and Ryan Hillier – seem to have found their identity as a band. For existing fans it may be a shock to hear initially, but the earnest songwriting and musicianship on display should win them round and bring even more listeners to the band at the same time.
Alamort is due for release on 16 February via Xtra Mile Recordings and can be pre-ordered HERE. It was tracked and mixed at Crooked Rain Studio in Leeds and further mastered by Mass Giorgini (Anti-Flag, Rise Against) at Sonic Iguana Studio.
The band, who have been nothing short of prolific to date, with over 1,000 shows under their belt, will be touring the UK in support of the record before the start of the festival season in May. Tickets available HERE.
Upcoming Tour Dates
16 – The Lexington, London
17 – The Arts Centre, Norwich
27 – The Alma, Bolton
28 – Pop Punk Pile UpFestival, Shelby
05 – Rock am Kuhteich, D-Deutzen
25 – Gängeviertel Festival, Hamburg
26 – B58, Braunschweig
16– Indie festival, Bavaria
Words: William Sutton
Photo: Charlie Wallis Photography