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Duck Sauce - Quack Album Cover

Duck Sauce - Quack

Reviewed by
7.0
Duck Sauce - Quack
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Label: Fool's Gold Records
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Duck Sauce, as you may or may not know, rose to prominence on the back of the giddy virality of “Barbara Streisand” way back in 2010. Finding cheap humor in repetition, the song managed to achieve the ubiquity that it did because the rest of the song was a blast, a poppy house anthem of the highest caliber. Quack, the debut full length from A-Trak and Armand Van Helden’s collaborative project, doesn't copy/paste the formula from their biggest hit, but many of the same elements remain. It’s cheeky, groovy, and it always sounds as though it’s teetering on the edge of being a genuine irritant. Dance music that toes that line of cheese is fairly common, but the commercial and artistic success of something like “Barbara Streisand” is not.

Rare though that success might be, the Duck Sauce duo’s dynamic seems to lend itself to replicating just that. “Chariot of the Gods,” the opening number of Quack, is difficult to discern from the first - is the sci-fi trope narration servicing the thumping bass, or is it the reverse? Are Duck Sauce are not lending their debut LP a pseudo-concept, a statement about dance tunes being transcendent, despite what might be inferred from a simple textual analysis of the lyrics; the bombast of the announcement of the “chariots” is blatantly sarcastic. There’s a moment of Monty Python-lite humor in the songs closing moments, an extended riff on ducks that isn’t quite funny, but I don’t expect A-Trak and Helden thought so either.

Moments like those comprise a surprisingly hefty amount of the albums length. Skits are tacked on at every opportunity, regardless of whether it makes sense in the context of the record or even if its particularly funny. Despite the occasional genuine smirk, like the one that rises from their revamp of Wu-Tangs classic “Feedin you” skit that probably would have been credited as inspiring the Judd Apatow “bromance” movement if it had been released in 2001, these mostly make you reach for the “next” button as soon as the floor-filling beat ends.

Not only that, these guys might be more adept than most at the cheese tightrope act, but even they make mistakes. Few though they may be, the very nature of their aesthetic renders these missteps more grievous and unwelcome than they otherwise would be. “It’s You” comes early on and doesn’t reset the groove following the skit that the best songs on the album do. The hokey squeals call to mind an unflattering image of a bad dancer who think they’re the star of the circle. Thankfully, this is the album’s nadir, quickly succeeded by its strongest section. Beginning with “Goody Two Shoes” saccharine pop and coming to a close with the 80’s televised fitness instructor riffs of “NRG,” Quack veritably overflows with crowd pleasing numbers. The vocal samples that appear through this stretch are arresting, head-rushes that push ebullient smiles and exaggerated movement filtered through the massive disco and pop choruses that Duck Sauce lavishly refurbish.

On an album chock full of songs less likely to annoy but that remain stylistically coherent in their humorous character, “Barbara Streisand” might have made an obvious album closer cum mission statement. Instead, that climax is wisely placed with some less-intense comedown songs following. By the time the record ends, there’s an undeniable exuberance pervading, but Duck Sauce recognize the necessity of a cool down period. Quack’s embrace of cheese works less well in its skits than it does on record, but that’s all part of the plan. That approach keeps the barrier to accessibility low, and the best tracks on the record are those rare kinds that genuinely include pretty much everybody by being “crowd pleasers.”

7/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 9 of 9
08:59 AM on 05/09/14
#2
Jake Jenkins
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this record is pretty cool, only listened once but i was into some of it but i felt myself kind of drifting in and out of having an actual interest. review is pretty spot on
09:29 AM on 05/09/14
#3
Ryan Dennehy
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this record is pretty cool, only listened once but i was into some of it but i felt myself kind of drifting in and out of having an actual interest. review is pretty spot on
I'm probably going to edit track times in iTunes so i never have to hear these skits again lol
07:20 PM on 05/09/14
#4
caveBEAR
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I'm probably going to edit track times in iTunes so i never have to hear these skits again lol

There's a bonus CD of club mixes for this album out there too, all the mixes are different, longer intros and outros and that, but there's no skits in between and some of the mixes are IMO better than the album versions.
08:38 PM on 05/09/14
#5
Ryan Dennehy
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There's a bonus CD of club mixes for this album out there too, all the mixes are different, longer intros and outros and that, but there's no skits in between and some of the mixes are IMO better than the album versions.
Oh man no way this sounds great
11:05 AM on 05/12/14
#6
wordsAREcancer
we are not consistent!
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I'm probably going to edit track times in iTunes so i never have to hear these skits again lol


I agree, the skits are kinda annoying, except for the Fat Jew's prank call.

Other than that, I absolutely ADORE this album for the most part, I think I woulda given it an 8.5...the songs are just so damn catchy and I haven't been able to stop listening. "Goody Two Shoes" has to be my favorite, followed by "aNYway", "Spandex" and "Ring Me". Constantly jamming to this album at work. And it sucks, I never cared for Duck Sauce until this album came out, so I didn't go see their set at Coachella last month and last year's HARD Summer -_- hahha hopefully they play another California date soon.
11:06 AM on 05/12/14
#7
wordsAREcancer
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There's a bonus CD of club mixes for this album out there too, all the mixes are different, longer intros and outros and that, but there's no skits in between and some of the mixes are IMO better than the album versions.
Is it on Soundcloud or something? I don't see it on Spotify. I need to hear these!
11:11 AM on 05/12/14
#8
Ryan Dennehy
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Just realized my last paragraph isn't my final draft UGHH
07:25 PM on 05/12/14
#9
caveBEAR
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Is it on Soundcloud or something? I don't see it on Spotify. I need to hear these!

nope, it was a bonus disc on some version of this release.

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