The Duke Spirit

Cuts Across the Land (StarTime)

The Duke Spirit
Don't let the members of this London five-piece fool you: Claiming not to care whether people think you're cool is almost always the same thing as caring about it. And despite their protestations, the Duke Spirit bandmates are cool: They play dark, churning retro-rock, full of fuzzy guitars and driving drums -- the modern-day equivalent of late-'80s hair metal or early '90s grunge. They're smart too: Instead of having another interchangeable indie guy doing the frontman's heavy lifting, they've got blond bombshell Leila Moss, who provides the band its wisp of originality; her raspy soul-blues holler keeps the Duke Spirit's nervy throb from too closely resembling that of any of the other retro-rock acts currently making the hipster rounds (except for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who now officially have an English counterpart).

Cuts Across the Land works better as bleary morning-after music than it does night-of party rock. At 42 minutes, the album feels long, and the songs tend to bleed together, just like surroundings squinted at through the lens of a hangover. The band also talks a lot of guff about black magic and so forth, which is easier to take if you're not paying full attention. Certainly wouldn't mind a video, though.

Scroll to read more Music News articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.