The Duke Spirit : Cuts Across The Land

...black magic brilliance...

There’s always one. Now that Brit bands have remembered how to make great rock and roll, everyone is in denial of how culturally short-sighted Britpop was, and bands the length and breath of the country are hanging out the bunting in celebration of the great British pop revival, along come London five piece The Duke Spirit with the good grace of a cigarette butt extinguished in an wine glass. Threatening to spit in the cake mix with their ice cold doom rock cool, The Duke Spirit are the black sheep in the UK pop paddock. The coal black chain-smoking Ewe over there in the corner, sneering with contempt and getting wasted on Gin. Baaah.

Because their debut long player is a melodic masterpiece of boldly indignant malevolent spite. It’s a record ill at ease with the cartoon capers of the Kaisers and Maximo Park and disinterested with the art rocking exuberance of Bloc Party and Franz. You’d have to exhume the remains of ice maiden chanteuse Nico and push her rotting bones on stage with The Velvet Underground to find any kind of comparable musical kinship. Let NME swear on this bible black; nobody in the world is making music as deliciously nasty as these evil fuckers right now.

‘Lion Rip’ sounds like a swarm of hungry warrior ants gleaning the face of punk priestess Patti Smith from flesh and tendon, whilst ‘Win Your Love’ heroically strives to tarnish the songs syrupy melody with repeated bursts of flesh tattering guitar brutality. And yet amongst the foliage of filthy punk noise, singer Liela Moss tears a clearing for her hushed couplets of pagan poetry, her voice sounding wearily sassy and delightfully none fussed, purring down the phone line to Hades whilst Satan wanks furiously over images of skewered baby bits.

If the UK pop family has popped out for a jolly evening at the circus, then The Duke Spirit are naughty children left home alone with a box of matches and a drawer full of knives. And if they continue to create such offerings of bedazzling black magic brilliance, may they remain there until they rot.

James Jam
7 / 10

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