The Duke Spirit : London ULU: Tuesday November 4

Brilliantly moody Londoners proudly plant the Union Jack atop the dark mount of thriliing rock'n'roll

Forget stiff upper lips, losing at whatever happens to be the national game

this week and talking about the weather; the true mark of Britishness has

always been our ability to whip up a dour frenzy of moody life-changing

rock. From the satanic [a]Rolling Stones[/a] via [a]Joy Division[/a] and [a]Cure[/a] to [a]Pulp[/a]’s

hardcore dalliances we are the merchants of mirthless – even the NYC doom mongers [a]Velvet Underground[/a] had a sour Welshmen concocting their sheets of crushing noise.

And, despite a pleasurable diversion a year ago when a black US wave swept

us willingly off our feet in the form of [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a] and [a]Interpol[/a]’s giddy midnight

pleasures, first [a]The Kills[/a] and now [a]The Duke Spirit[/a] are dragging Britain back

to funereal triumph.

From the [a]Velvet Underground[/a] to [a]PJ Harvey[/a], the moody Londoners are grave robbers of

their ancestors, stitching together a glorious Frankenstein’s monster of

music that is both overwhelmingly malevolent and dangerously beautiful.

The effect is stunning, Leila Moss delivers first single ‘Darling You’re Mean’ with delicious venom from behind a coquettish blonde fringe while ‘Howling Self’s bruising feedback paints a scintillating widescreen drama. Any danger that they’re Black Rebel Bicycle Club evaporates instantly.

While they pilfer from the past, painstakingly erecting the familiar

blackened wall of noise rather than merely hiding behind a dark barrage

they’re creating a new mesmerising soundtrack to a bad deal at 4am on a

Sunday morning. In particular closer ‘Red Weather’is a tense, fractured drama smeared with a grimy insistent bassline second only to Leila Moss’ lusty wail.

They dress pure ’67 [a]Velvet Underground[/a] but where Nico was a motionless glacial

presence Leila is a shaking, shimmying, sashaying lightning rod of passion wielding the tambourine like a shamanistic totem whipping her sombre cool foot soldiers onto glory. There’s a celebratory howl as guitars are carelessly discarded with a satisfying wince-enducing crunch and they’re gone.

They’ve grasped the idea that rock and roll isn’t just a handful of pals

playing some songs – it’s something that can enthrall every atom of your

essence. It’s an idea that’s ambitious, laudable and just two years ago

seemed laughable but on tonight’s evidence Britain has five thrilling new

doyens of doom.

Anthony Thornton