Cuff the Duke

By Garth Paulson

Maybe it’s the fact that they have been hailed as the successors to Canadian legends Blue Rodeo, or maybe it’s that I saw them absolutely kill it at a festival this summer, but it seems my expectations were a little too lofty for the fifth album by cult indie-rockers Cuff the Duke.

Frontman Wayne Petti’s vocals and alternating acoustic and electric rhythm guitar work provide a framework that lead guitarist Dale Murray builds on with well-fitting leads, solos and even some pedal steel. Rich vocal and instrumental harmonies abound on choruses of the songs- think alt-country Beatles.

It seems like all members can play the hell out of their instruments, but I found their lyrics to be a little lacking. It’s fairly standard country fare here: “Oh, you don’t know what it’s like/You don’t know what it’s like” crowns the chorus of the aptly-titled “You Don’t Know What It’s Like.”

There aren’t any standout tracks on Morning Comes, but there’s nothing bad, either. It’s an album I’d put on if I was driving through the prairies and just wanted something chill to kick back to. Pick it up if you dig a solid mix of indie, folk and country.

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