Back to site

Herman Düne - Strange Moosic CD and Book Version (2011) CD

Image of Herman Düne - Strange Moosic CD and Book Version (2011) CD


Audio CD (6 Jun 2011)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Fortuna Pop!

This CD version comes in a deluxe style hardback book and is very limited. The easiest thing to say about Herman Düne is that they are atypical. Created by brothers David Ivar Herman Düne and Andre Herman Düne over 10 years ago, the 2 Swedish-rooted fans of American music were already playing Europe and the States before theyd even begun making records. Having written over 400, they have become a reference in the modern folk-rock songwriting scene. In recent years, founder member Andre has left the band but despite this David and drummer Neman also of Zombie Zombie have continued relentlessly. A decade ago, songwriter and vocalist David Ivar Herman Dune and drummer Cosmic Neman let go of their secular life and created the band Herman Dune. Out of Paris, all across Europe and all the way to NYC, they gained a formidable Cult Status with the help of John Peel. Without stepping out of the DIY network, with tape and 7 inch releases and devoted bedroom labels, some 12 albums were released. In 2006 Herman Dune changed their line up after the departure of Davids brother Stanley aka Andre and recorded songs in a professional studio for the first time. The ensuing album propelled them to a wider recognition, with I Wish That I Could See You Soon Rolling Stone USs choice of Best Songs Of 2007 and an acclaimed Sesame Street Style video by director Toben Seymour, who has also made their most recent video for the new single Tell Me Something I Don t Know starring Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame. Herman Dune then started to headline bigger venues in Europe, the peak of this being a sold out 2500 capacity show at The Olympia in Paris. With a wealth of new material they chose 15 out of a possible 20 newly recorded songs to create Strange Moosic. With a focus this time on melody and simple production, this is their most accessible record to date. Featuring David Ivars idiosyncratic vocals and engaging poetry. Inspired by songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Jonathan Richman and David Berman, his soft accent lends a naïve charm to his words. Adam Selzer recorded the album at his studio in Portland M Ward / Decemberists. A perfect fit for Herman Dune, he was able to record songs played live and make them sound rich and vibrant. The songs were played on an acoustic guitar, the way they were originally conceived, each telling a different story but working together beautifully as a whole to create an effortlessly classic album.

1. Tell Me Something I Don't Know
2. Ah Hears Strange Moosic
3. Be A Doll And Take My Heart
4. Where Is The Man
5. Lay Your Head On My Chest
6. Monument Park
7. In The Long Long Run
8. Your Love Is Gold
9. The Rock
10. Just Like Summer
11. My Joy
12. Magician

An album by this veteran twee-pop duo on the studiously cute Fortuna Pop! label should be the most indie album ever made. But the promo accompanying Strange Moosic’s first single and opening track suggests that both camps want out of their ghetto. A video that begins with an adorably sad, shaggy blue Muppet-like creature and ends with the two Swedes playing the song in a forest may not be the stuff of Hype Williams’ dreams. But a band who have always operated on a cottage industry shoestring are suddenly able to award the starring role in their videos to none other than Jon Hamm, star of Mad Men and 30 Rock and current holder of Hottest Stud Muffin In The World Right Now status. Hamm takes the cuddly creature on a road trip and makes his gentle dreams come true, guaranteeing that every woman aged between 16 and 60 will fall hopelessly in love with the film. Whether any of them will notice the song…

It would be a shame if they didn’t. Because Herman Dune’s 10th album is undoubtedly their best, and there’s no earthly reason, barring daytime radio’s obsession with blinged-out anthems of self-empowerment through nightclubbing, why singer/guitarist/songwriter David-Ivar Herman Dune and drummer Cosmic Néman shouldn’t be accepted as a different kind of pop star. The duo make a jangly, gauche, bittersweet-yet-optimistic sound invented by Jonathan Richman and continued on by the likes of Orange Juice, Hefner and Belle and Sebastian, but with a muscular, sparse faux-American edge reminiscent of Nick Lowe and honed to perfection in their adopted home of Portland, Oregon.

This reaches peaks of melodic, summery and romantic happy-sadness here on the likes of Ah Hear Strange Moosic, Your Love Is Gold, Magician, Just Like Summer and the truly gorgeous Lay Your Head On My Chest, an on-the-road song so perfect you can already hear Springsteen covering it. All of which is a pretty extraordinary feat for a band that were favourites of the late John Peel a full 12 years ago, and who could easily have called it a day when David’s brother André left five years ago to make records as Stanley Brinks.

Obviously, this isn’t exactly strange music. But it captures something unfashionably warm-hearted and timeless; a place where rock, pop, folk and indie meet and swap stories over camomile tea about being dumped by girls who wear hairgrips and flowery dresses with Dr Martens. There should always be a place for this, whether John Hamm gets to warm the teapot or not.

--Garry Mulholland