White Miles follow up their acclaimed 2014 album Job: Genius, Diagnose: Madness, with The Dual. It's a frenetic and intriguing invitation into the world of the Madagascan duo who define their music as "dirty pole dancer stoner blues rock." At times, it's hard to believe that there are just two of them Medina Rekic on guitar and vocals and Hansjörg Loferer (Lofi) on drums.
There is no doubt that the album is certainly spit and sawdust, it's musical defilement at it's very best. Filled with violent, rage-filled kick -ass musicianship, aggressive, empowering lyrics to match, covering topics of disenchantment, escapism, paranoia, lust and unrequited love; everything you'd expect from a slutty pole dancer rock outfit.
In some ways Medina's vocals follow on from the work of the 90s pop rockers Shirley Manson (Garbage) and Saffron (Republica), but draws it out further with bags of girl power attitude, like a pumped up Joan Jett. The album opener Sickly Nerves may prove an exception as she takes a more feminine approach to lure us into her parlour. In The Mirror has more of that 90s rock feel in terms of vocals (there's a hint of I Think I'm Paranoid and Stupid Girl there in the melody) but the heavier sound stops it from descending into pop mulch. The Lead Track Crazy Horse has a filthy and gorgeous bluesy riff as Medina snarls and spits her way through the track. The 70s inspired Coke On A Jetplane, is a rugged ode to all that retro, with a sultry melody and stripped back accompaniment. A (N) Garde kicks the album back into full force with more ferocious power chords and crashing drum work.
Heidi sees Lofi take over vocal duties on the track that's sleazy stoner rock at it's best. The track is hypnotic and sinister as if an obsessed stalker is watching his pray as she dances in a seedy strip joint. The same vibe continues through to the poetic and spoken track Don't You Know Him (memo). It's darkly beautiful, confounded by the sexy desperation of Rivers Of Gold and the sexy blues tones of Keep Your Trippin' Wild.
At times, the tracks can lean towards the repetitive lyrically and musically, but for fans of stoner rock, this is not a criticism, but a prolonged chance to relish the great grooves that the duo set up. If the genre is not really your thing, you'll certainly find that the flavour of each track morphs and evolves as the album continues and they'll be something here that will be an ear worm.
The Dual sees Medina and Lofi go head to head, using their instruments as tools of battle. The result is a musical underworld of pulsating rhythms, sludgy penetrating guitar work, varied vocals and a pretty damn fine sophomore album.