Morello vs. Masaru Mitsu deliver terrific album in ‘The Duellists’

Morello‘The Duellists’
Morello vs. Masaru Mitsu (self-released)
4 stars out of 5

I had no idea what to expect when “The Duellists” came across my desk last month. A collaboration between Morello (aka British songwriter/producer Malcom “Sir Mal” Cross) and Japanese multi-instrumentalist Masaru Mitsu, the principals struck up an online friendship over their shared love of “obscure guitar bands and ‘80s synth-pop.”

Morello CD“The overall theme of this record is ‘conflict’ — not just between two people, but also internal struggle,” Cross explains. “I was going through some pretty heavy personal stuff during the writing period, and everything I was trying so hard to suppress just came straight out in the songs. In a more positive sense, it’s a reference to the clash of two different musical personalities — Masaru and me — and how the record came about.”

You’d think Cross and Mitsu have been working together for years, based on the chemistry they display on the 10-track platter. From the opening notes of “In-a-City” to the final strains of tongue-in-cheek closer “Keys, Wallet, Cellphone,” Morello vs. Masaru Mitsu don’t miss a trick. Additional standouts include “Some Families,” “Won’t Get Me Down,” “I Wanna Be Bad,” “The Time to Know You Well” and “Singing My Life.” I hope these talented guys team up again down the road. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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