Label: EMI Release date: 13/10/08 Link: www.hermandune.com Buy: Amazon UK When first laying eyes on Herman Düne you may think that Dan le Sac has lost weight and Scroobius Pip has grown his hair long. It turns out however, that instead of blurting out commentaries on modern culture over sampled tracks, this duo play a collection of humble country and folk songs in Next Year in Zion. This album starts off with a classic country vibe, with walking-paced rhythms and slide guitars, but the songs soon develop into a familiar modern folk sound pioneered by the likes of Sufjan Stevens, with charming horns and percussions. While slightly altering its genre as it develops, the album maintains an important principle of country and folk music, which is to tell stories, and Herman Düne do this with certain warmth. Most of the stories told are about a moment shared between the storyteller and his beloved, and in certain songs it seems rather trivial, but at the same time there is a humorous simplicity to singer, David-Ivar Herman Düne’s, stories that will make you smile if you don’t take life too seriously. A good example would be to describe ‘Lovers are Waterproof’, where the storyteller is wanted by the law, and he is more concerned about whether the diner he’s approaching is Mexican so he can have a breakfast burrito, rather than telling his lover about the trouble he’s in. It is these little quirks that Herman Düne sing about along with the sound of David-Idar’s voice and the female backing singers, that make Herman Düne sound like what would happen if Jonathan Richman wrote Leonard Cohen’s songs. It is a shame that a lot of the songs on the album begin to wear thin, and it is sometimes hard to stay interested in them after an amount of time passes. It is still good though to hear some good country music from people who aren’t as old as Robert Plant. If you chose to avoid Plant’s album, Raising Sand, with Alison Krauss because you think it’s an album for old fogies, maybe you should give Next Year in Zion a try.