1 Dutchess and the Duke

Thursday, August 13

One of the most infallible signs of genius pop songwriting occurs when the writer expresses a common—if not universal—human emotion, using phrasing that sounds so classic and familiar that the listener is convinced they’ve already heard the sentiment expressed elsewhere. Dutchess and the Duke mastermind Jesse Lortz has this gift in such a rich degree that one fears it has a brief shelf life. When he and his collaborator Kimberly Morrison harmonize on the line “I can’t win, I can’t lose, and everything I do is wrong” on the opening track, "Hands", it’s at equal turns optimistic, downtrodden, and fiercely forthright. The duo’s sophomore album Sunrise/Sunset is so strong, it gives off a whiff of potency that makes you want to pay attention, simply because something this beautiful can’t possibly endure beyond this release. I’d love to be wrong, because this is easily one of the best local records of the year. HANNAH LEVIN

Thu., Aug. 13, 9 p.m., 2009

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