Release Date: Apr 15, 2014
Record label: Fool's Gold Records
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Club/Dance
Like the takeout goop they're named for, turntablist-turned-label honcho A-Trak and filterhouse master chef Armand Van Helden aren't about haute cuisine. But their sample-storming full-length debut is undeniable – squarely in the tradition of stoned dance-floor hitmakers from decades past like Deee-Lite, Fatboy Slim and M|A|R|R|S. Five years' worth of primo one-off singles are here, including "aNYway" – a flip of Final Edition's 1979 latter-day disco gem "I Can Do It (Any Way You Want)" – and the goofball "Barbra Streisand." The new stuff is nearly as good.
When it comes to fucking around, Duck Sauce are not fucking around. Armand Van Helden and A-Trak have spent a large part of this decade acting as big-box dance music's merry pranksters, following their clown-nosed muses to the most illogically comical endpoints. In their music videos, the duo have acted as whistle-prone barbers, drank each other's milkshakes, and become literal dickheads; after bringing their bomber jacket-befitted inflatable mascot to New York City's Governor's Ball festival in 2012, they set their creation floating down the East River during the following year's installment of the festival—just for laughs.
They say that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. But what if it’s a creative duck? That’s the question I’m faced with on Duck Sauce’s debut album, Quack. There are a few things that I find interesting about this release before I even start listening to it. First, how long does it take to release an album after a hit as big as 2010’s “Barbara Streisand”? It was very puzzling to me, to say the least.
Although the snooty house music fans declare it a garish glop of slick pop goo with maybe just one small drop of clever, Duck Sauce (featuring superstar DJs Armand Van Helden and A-Trak banging the beats together) released a seriously subversive slab of music with their infectious, Boney M. -sampling track "Barbara Streisand. " Veteran DJ prankster Green Velvet must have gone greener with envy once the Lima, Ohio kids on the network television show Glee performed the cut, as if "Pump Up the Volume" and "James Brown Is Dead"-styled numbers were perfect for show choir.
Tori Amos, Unrepentant Geraldines Unique artists that make a musical home in the fringes, those who have, by their instinctive weirdness, forged a singular path that almost willingly contradicts everything else going on in the world, really do have their work cut out for them. At least when it comes to playing the long game. David Bowie, Björk, Tom Waits and Tori Amos all sprint to mind, and while all have been wildly successful in their respective careers, all have gone through extended rough patches during which their art didn’t widely connect with the rabid fan bases they culled during stretches of unparalleled brilliance.