Review: The Duke Spirit, Cuts Across the Land
The Duke Spirit are a five-piece out of London featuring Leila Moss (vocals), Luke Ford (guitar, organ, vocals), Toby Butler (bass, guitar), Dan Higgins (guitar, piano), and Olly Betts (drums). “Cuts Across the Land” is their first album.
The band plays a tough brand of indie rock with The Velvet Underground, Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine as strong influences. The guitars are fuzzed out and noisy, the drums hammer, and the vocals are stark and compelling – until they slow it down and then they tend toward a rolling, droning, hypnotic bass-driven sound. The main draw here is Moss. She has a striking voice and a compelling delivery. Musically, the band is more than competant but their clanging twin guitar attack is too similar to their influences for them to stand out on their own. However when you blend Moss’s voice into the mix music and voice enhance the other with the result that The Duke Spirit becomes an interesting band. Tracks where Moss’s voice gets lost in the general roar are less succesful than those where she can be heard more clearly in the mix.
“Cuts Across the Land” is a first album from a band with promise. If they can develop more of their own sound without losing their edge and without allowing Moss to become the whole show they sound like they have the potential to drop a killer album.
Music from this CD can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 014 – The Girls in the Band
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