Album Review: Duck Sauce – Quack

Get ready for a sexy summer, ‘cause it’s finally here.

After five years of back-spasming funk-drenched hits, the ever quirky Duck Sauce regaled us with their debut LP, Quack. The duo behind the duck bills, A-Trak and Armand Van Helden, described Duck Sauce as being nothing serious. Their entire persona hinges on them fucking around, making danceaholic beats, and increasingly ridiculously bizarre music videos–ranging from them being actual dick headssoap loving barbers, and late-night shopping hosts.

Quack keeps us on this continuous drug trip for the entire LP. Opening with piercing quacks, outer-space bleeps circa 1960s, and animatronic voices, we’re driven straight into Duck Sauce’s fourth dimension. ‘Chariots of the Gods’ retains a focused flare for the dramatic, building to climax before culminating with the first skit of Quack. Going into a documentarian “educkuation” of Duckology 101 – the doctrine to ducks everywhere.

The techno-funk-hip-hop-trip they promised from the very beginning is amped up. Using their combined expertise of crate-digging, hip-hop infused techno, and A-Trak’s scratching wizardry, Quack flies at its own never-ending pace. It’s straight groove music with each song’s thumping bass lines, catchy-as-fuck synth motifs, and the almost frustratingly repetitive chorus lines.

One of the most surprising aspects of the album is its listenability. Many dance-oriented groups hard master their tracks (Nakata Yasutaka, anyone?) to the point that the album becomes overwhelming to the nth degree. Similar to how Disclosure’s Settle needn’t always be dance music, Quack has the ability to serve that purpose as well. With Quack’s relentless drive to keep pumping away, it’s not quite as chilled out an album as Settle.

Quack will sit nicely on the disco-pop, funk loving palettes of dance junkies. Tracks like ‘Charlie Chazz & Rappin Ralph,’ ‘Goody Two Shoes,’ and ‘aNYway’ are disco dreams reincarnate. They’re straight boogie tunes that, while initially crazed-jump-inducingly great, sometimes become tiring to continue powering through. The use of gut-wrenchingly hilarious skits between tracks help refresh our ears and are by far my favorite part of Quack. Bringing in viral comedian the Fat Jew and Lord Sear from Stretch & Bobbito’s radio show in NYC, the skits are irreverent in the most glorious way possible.

The skits themselves range from Spanish-language radio shows, people obsessed with music comparisons, and prank calls to Chinese restaurants. Prepare yourselves for ridiculous antics.

I was glad for the music break between indulgent funk into an 80s rock infusion with tracks like ‘Everyone,’ ‘Ring Me,’ and ‘Time Waits for No-One.’ Although I’m not typically a fan of the 80s, the duo are experts at modernizing tracks while maintaining the sweet nostalgia of their carefully culled samples. Quack will undoubtedly serve as this summer’s album, being bumped from every rooftop party across the metropolitan skyline.

Quack is a very good debut album for Duck Sauce, but it’s not an album that I’ll continue spinning for months on end. It’s fun, light-hearted, catchy as all hell, and immaculately produced but it’ll mainly be used for social debauchery. It’s like A-Trak and Armand Van Helden said – there’s nothing serious about Duck Sauce; Quack isn’t meant to shake musical norms. Take it for what it is and appreciate the pop and groove-based sensibility of the pair’s whacky brilliance.

Watch out for those skits because your likelihood of bursting into laughter and scaring an old lady down the stairs is imminent. Duck Sauce is the rebellious kid living inside all of us who never seems to stop running amuck, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and make our duck forefathers proud.

Some stand-out tracks are ‘Goody Two Shoes,’ ‘Ring Me,’ ‘Time Waits for No-One,’ and ‘It’s You.’

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