Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Guest Review: The Duke Spirit's Neptune

Here's another guest review from my buddy Scott. He alludes to the fact that a lot of you have probably been aware of the Duke Spirit for a while now. One thing I like about Scott's reviews is that he approaches the albums from a fresh perspective because he doesn't read a lot of music criticism/blogs. I get annoyed with exclusionary blogs and writers who automatically assume you have an opinion about every band and album just because the record was leaked on the internet six months ago. Most people with jobs and familiesdon't have the time to read 37 blogs every morning and seek out illegal copies on the internet....

The Duke Spirit’s new album, Neptune, is came out in the U.S. on April 8th. Of course, many of YSTS’s readers are in the know enough that they’ve had this as in import since it was released in the UK in February. Full disclosure: I am not, nor will I ever be, that cool (or organized enough to actually acquire anything that takes any sort of effort to acquire).

So I listened to The Duke Spirit fresh, and I have to say that, after a couple of listens, it’s grown on me. The lead singer, Liela Moss, has a voice that kind of turned me off at first. But the more I listened to the tunes, the more her voice started to remind me of Grace Slick or Joan Jett—rough, smoky and a little dangerous, but with the ability to sing and not just growl or screech (it’s especially effective on “The Step and the Walk” and “Lassoo”).

The up-tempo tracks do more for me than the lower-energy tunes. (For example, check out “Into the Fold,” and skip “Wooden Heart,” which sounds to me like a bad U2 cover) Something about the way the drums push the band (and probably the way the guitar puts up a nice wall of sound) reminds me of The Cult, too . . . and that’s not a bad thing in my book. At other times, the band uses backing horns to really excellent effect (especially on “Lassoo,” which may be my favorite track). Neptune is certainly worth a listen. Not everything is great (as with anything), but the promising stuff outweighs the dead weight.

--Scott J.

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