Debut album explores love, loss and life

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Catch The Dunes at the Horseshoe Tavern tonight with Your Band Sucks and Six Feet Deep. The free concert is part of the Nu Music Nite series.

In a musical world where the airwaves are all too often dominated by pre-fab image-driven artists, Canadian band The Dunes are forcing people to focus on the music with their straight-up, in-your-face songs about love, loss and life in general.

Kevin Pullen, front man and songwriter, hails from South Africa and settled with his family in Ontario when he was 11. Writing songs in his early teens, he didn’t consider pursuing a music career at first. "I knew a long time ago, but I didn’t actualize that … I had this carrot dangling in front of me, and I couldn’t see it, but everybody else could see it."

The passing of his father in 1999 prompted Pullen to form The Dunes. "The whole mortality thing and how short life is … if you want something, you have to do it now, death is very real, it’s a short life and you can make the most of it while you can … it really lit a fire, for sure. I said ‘This is what I wanna do now and I can do this,’" Pullen explains.

The Dunes’ debut album, Socializing With Life, was originally released in 2004, and Pullen claims re-releasing the record was initially tough.

"We made the CD a couple years back and we’ve been writing constantly … it’s not exactly where we’re at now but we can also play new stuff at shows, and we’re proud of songs that are on that record, so we gave the green light."

Pullen has every right to be proud. The tracks sway between delightfully sad ballads like Sunflower Eyes and abrasive tunes such as Do It All The Time. Hurry Up possibly has the most charming lyrics of the album with Pullen crooning, "I will wait for you, but hurry up ..." and the biting social commentary of Kennedys cannot be ignored either.

"The Kennedys was a concept song … the idea that we all walk around and watch Paris Hilton or whoever on TV… I’m a little cynical about government and the facade … we’re just walking around blindly and we still don’t really know who killed the Kennedys ..."

The Dunes play a free show at the Horseshoe tonight.

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