CUFF THE DUKE play the Great Hall on Friday (September 28) as part of Paper Bag Records' 10th anniversary concert series, and the Winter Garden Theatre on November 24. See listing. Rating: NNN
On Union, the second of a two-part concept album that began with last year's Morning Comes, local roots rockers Cuff the Duke are more psychedelic, sonically textured and reminiscent of Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever than ever.
If Morning Comes was about surviving a hard time, Union describes what's on the other side, which, as it turns out, is equally fraught with conflict and challenges.
These are verbose, minor-key rockers, with songwriter Wayne Petti asserting his right to do his own thing on Big Star-tinged opener Live My Life and taking aim at phoniness in public discourse on Where Did We Go Wrong.
Lacking the jangly, well-crafted gems that made Morning Comes strong, the album sounds B-side-ish at times. That said, they try something big, beautiful and new on Spector-styled love song Stay, featuring Basia Bulat on backups.
Top track: Stay