Herman Dune

Herman Dune

I saw these guys play at Indietracks 2011 but didn’t really give them my full attention, mainly due to the copious amounts of real ale I’d consumed. So I decided to give them another chance…

Date: October 14, 2011

Venue: Rescue Rooms

The chances are a lot of people won’t have the foggiest idea who Herman Dune are, despite them being around since 1999.

Officially they’re French duo David-Ivar Herman Düne and drummer Néman Herman Düne, but over the years they’ve had myriad guest sessionists helping them through the anti-folk, twee indie underground from which their music has never really escaped.

It’s difficult to pin down their style exactly. David-Ivar, dressed like an Amish preacher, showed off his excellent guitar skills, while drums are crashed, cymbals battered and bongos playfully slapped as the band tear through such diverse genres as alt-indie, country, folk, anti-folk and world music.

David-Ivar tried his best to communicate with the sparse crowd, but his accent was sometimes hard to decipher.

He’s at his most lucid when his band leave him with just his acoustic guitar. The sweet, lovelorn almost poem-like yarns connect well with the crowd, and form a nice juxtaposition with the jangly genre-straddling stuff which bookend this lolling interlude.

If it’s comparisons you want, try Belle and Sebastian at their most bittersweet.

The new single, Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, is their most likely route into the mainstream’s outer reaches, largely by virtue of enlisting Mad Men’s slick lothario John Hamm in a video that also contains a cute, shaggy blue muppet-like character.

But bands like Herman Dune exist better without top 40 hits. The underground music scene wouldn’t want to lose one of its chieftains, would it?

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