Kimberly Morrison and Jesse Lortz are your friends. They’re those friends that show up at your doorstep unannounced after months of absence and talk to you as though they never left. The ones that’ll eat all the cold leftover pizza in your fridge and leave you enough money to replace it plus enough to get takeout for the next night too. They’re the friends that litter your apartment with cigarette butts and empty beer cans during an all-night bender and help you clean it up in the morning. The ones that impart strange and sharp wisdom on life and launch into impromptu jam sessions on your front porch and stay way past their welcome.

Kimberly and Jesse, the Dutchess and the Duke in their respective gender pseudonyms, construct straight-shooting 60′s folk-pop in such a way that you not only feel as though you know them, but as if they’re your best buddies harmonizing in your living room. There’s no hipster charade, no fussy composition, no bullshit; it’s just and guy and a girl and their songs, each of which ooze a ramshackle, recorded-on-the-back-of-a-bus quality. Jesse’s manic depressive lyrics—”If there ever was a crime/we’d be together one more time/before I put your face down in the dirt,” is one of the more cheerful lines—are coupled with campfire sing-along tunes, a fusion which makes no-frills a desirable commodity.

But what really brings this woodsy folk-rock duo up a few notches is Kimberly’s spot-on vocal harmonies. She shadows Jesse’s chorus of moans on the Medieval-style lament, “The Prisoner,” adding depth and an eerie, other-worldly presence and coos lightly in “You Can Tell the Truth, Now,” transforming it from a simple acoustic ballad to a wistful lullaby. And she does it all effortlessly.

It’s easy to compare their homegrown melodies and rich vocals to Joan Baez or Leonard Cohen or a Bringing it All Back Home-era Dylan, but at times, the Dutchess and the Duke seem to unconsciously create more than just folk—they drift into Orbison’s punchy bolero in “Back to Me” and wander into a Stones guitar homage in “I’m Just a Ghost.” They’re loose, they’re natural, and they’re just doing their own thing. Kimberly and Jesse, they’re just like your friends. (HardlyArt) –Lauren Ciraulo