The many worlds traversed in Duologue’s newest album, Never Get Lost, must be revisited time and time again in order for each crevice of its ethereal soundscape to fully reveal itself to the listener. The emotional experience of this London five-some’s latest work, however, is best summed up by the cover art – a soul continually falling through mist towards a dark forest bathed in unexplainable light. Like a dream remembered in vivid detail, Never Get Lost runs through the mind with a fervid passion for the story it has to tell.
The story is, according to its own creators, that of people isolated in a digital age, and the metamorphosis that their existence and relationships must undergo to adapt to this harsh new reality. Despite this inner dialogue on melancholy and seclusion, the album is no foray into despair. From the onset, Duologue insert their intention to make a statement about this oddly plastic reality we live in. They start with “Memex” (or memory index), a hypothetical technology proposed in the forties to store information and supplement the mind. From those first resounding notes of Never Get Lost, the listener is drawn deep into the swirling undertow of a pensive pulse, the gateway to Duologue’s mysterious land stalked by the beasts of both darkness and light.
Among the most achingly plaintive tracks is lead single “Forests,” a venture into the most mystical corners of the imagination, sparkling with plucked strings and enduringly wistful vocals from frontman Tim Digby-Bell. Each layer of the composition pierces the next with strangeness and mystery; meanwhile, its lyrics mirror the urgency of the beat that anchors the track: “Say the things you need to say / Let me down the easy way.”
“Drag And Drop” is sure to leave an imprint, albeit in an altogether different way, yet complimentary to the album’s scope and the band’s remarkable versatility nonetheless. Imbued with sexy electric rhythms and an intensely addictive refrain that coos and cracks, lamenting in sardonic simplicity “You’re stuck inside my heart,” the track makes good use of Digby-Bell’s richly elastic falsetto. It’s representative of the ways in which the group has grown – for this, their second studio album, they’ve carved away at their eclectic sound to craft a masterful style that melds booming electronic beats with eerily captivating melodies that drift from plaintive vocals.
Never Get Lost is an ironic title for this 45-minute journey steeped in myth and introspection. Above all else, you become exactly that – lost – deep in the folds of cascading melodies and electronic beats. But when you eventually come up for air, breaking the surface to bob a moment before the blue-grey sky, you long to submerge again into that deeply haunting space, finding yourself looking through wider eyes with a pulse calmed by the rocking motion of the waters below. When the pause finally ends and you are ready to move forward, you step off of that visceral cloud and firmly onto the ground, your insides expanded and your consciousness greater than before.