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  Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
Artist: Every Last Windmill Shall Fall  
Label: Indie
9 tracks, 26:35 minutes

Kent Randell, singer/songwriter for Every Last Windmill Shall Fall, opens his new album by declaring: "I know I'm quixotic and dumb/I just think it's the greatest virtue".  Then he spends the next twenty-three minutes proving it to us.  But I don't mean that as an insult.  His latest project, Duck, Duck, Grey Duck is such a sprawling, ambitious work that the description fits.

The opener "Mark" could be the greatest statement by a garage band since...heck, in a long time.  It cuts open with the teeth of a punk band who actually understands what it means to be punk, and therefore doesn't have to sound like a "punk band". Then it settles into a great pop tune with great guitar work and hooky background vocals that would make both the Flaming Lips and the Beach Boys proud.  The second track "Strawberry Days" would be a beautiful follow-up, except for its length and (forgive me) lack of vocals.  So, the Windmills are gonna make me work for it, huh?  That's cool, ya got me.  And work for it one must, 'cause after track three it gets tricky.  The remainder of the album takes the listener through a song cycle that is mostly instrumental, except for the Esquivel-meets-"Great Gig in the Sky" vocals.  Imagine "The Murder Mystery" by the Velvet Underground, only instead of all the parts playing at the same time, there's a specific track for each storyline.  And maybe one or two more just to make sure you heard him right.  There are moments of pure garage pop through-out, but never anything that the listener can grab onto, which means you gotta keep going back.  That Kent Randell just might be a genius.

Every Last Windmill Shall Fall have created a rarity: an indie album that is as interesting as it's supposed to be.  It doesn't promise more that it can deliver, and the fact that it delivers such a compelling album is refreshing.  Despite its quixotic claims, Duck, Duck, Grey Duck makes total sense.  I can't wait to hear more.

Andy Odom  2/5/2004


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