It'll have you holding your jaw, wondering what hit you long after the record has...
Sid Smith 2008
If 2005’s Cuts Across The Land showed a young but ambitious group caught standing in the shadows of their musical heroes, The Duke Spirit’s latest album sees them emerging out of the shade with a mature set that’s as powerful as it is energetic. When the frantic sneer-pop of Send A Little Love Token roars out from the speakers, it’s impossible not to experience the adrenalin rush of being in the company of a band not only on their way, but on their way under their own steam. Sure the signposts of Sonic Youth, Pixies, et al can be glimpsed as the music hurtles along, but it’s blindingly obvious they’ve been digging deep to transcend those influences, to find their true voice, indeed, their true spirit.
This coming of age is due to hard graft, spending much of last year working the circuit in the USA, and perhaps their growth as writers has also had something to do with the wide open surroundings of the Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, with stoner rock Godfather Chris Goss at the controls. Travel, in this case, really has broadened the mind, resulting in something far more panoramic than their debut.
This is an album simply dripping with the kind of confidence that comes from knowing you’ve delivered the goods. The Step and The Walk, all brooding bass and chrome-retro pop, packs a pout for sure but has substance as well. Inevitably singer Liela Moss will soak up much of the press attention that they undoubtedly deserve. However, it’d be a mistake to underestimate or overlook the twin-guitar bite provided by Luke Ford and Dan Higgins on tracks such as Into The Fold. It may be under two and a half minutes but they know when to keep their powder dry and when to let it blast. Ditto the bluesy-glamed-up slice and dice on This Ship Was Built To Last. We’ve heard a lot of blink-and-you-miss-it indie power pop before but The Duke Spirit deliver a brass-laced sucker punch that’ll have you holding your jaw, wondering what hit you long after the record has finished.