The Duke Spirit : Birmingham Academy

These guys have everything....

Not many bands have the ability to make the distressed Academy stage look like a trendy Brooklyn catwalk. Londoners [a]The Duke Spirit[/a], however, take The Velvet Underground’s semi-psychotic penchant for grimy rock’n’roll and graft it on to [a]Ozzy Osbourne[/a]’s haircuts and thrift-store wardrobe. It’s quite possibly the sexiest thing Birmingham has seen since [a]Distillers[/a] last got his knob out in the Bull Ring.

Inevitably, the focal point of it all is Liela Moss. Sure, she’s got the poise of a supermodel, the attitude of a thousand [a]My Bloody Valentine[/a] and looks that could make the blind see again, but handily she can also sing with soul and drama, too. Propelled by the filthy rhythms of opener ‘Cuts Across The Land’, Moss waves around her tambourine like some kind of musical sex toy

and every boy and girl in the place falls into a fixed stare. The waltz-time dirge of ‘Lovetones’ continues the hypnosis, sprawling out into an equally captivating art-rock finale which is followed by the distant rustlings of what NME assumes must be Andy Warhol sitting up in his grave and muttering “Fuck me, these guys are great” to himself over and over again.

OK, so there are a million and one bands who want to look and sound like the Velvets so damn bad they pretend to have a smack habit, and superglue their sunglasses to their faces. But

The Duke Spirit are already showing signs of progressing from last year’s ‘Roll, Spirit, Roll’ mini-album thanks to a raft of new songs. In particular, the gorgeous droning of ‘So Good To Hear’ touches a blissed-out euphoria not heard since [a][/a] – and for managing to emulate such unbridled greatness, this band deserve much reward. Before the year is out, they’ll almost certainly get it.

Hardeep Phull