Grand Duchy – Let the People Speak
Every marriage has its ups and downs; Let the People Speak is mostly the latter. Husband and wife Frank Black and Violet Clark follow up Grand Duchy’s 2009 debut Petit Fours with another eclectic collection of divergent genre dabblings, but it’s hardly the stuff on which iconic reputations are built, nor maintained. The record begins inauspiciously, with See-Thru You a hi-NRG beat and a dye-job away from Republica, while The Lopsided World of L is the first of several skits – each more teeth-grindingly irritating than the last.
Amidst the dross is a smattering of decent tracks, and even one or two rough diamonds: the escalating Dark Sparkles and the Beat showcases Clark’s affective vocal style well, while Shady features an enjoyably eccentric performance from Black, full of playfully arcane lyrics. But even these high watermarks are fathoms below his best work, rendering the enterprise intermittently diverting, but skippable.