The Duke Spirit - The Kusama EP

Tiffany Daniels 07/02/2011

Rating: 2/5

Half a decade ago The Duke Spirit set their guitars to stun and charged at Britain. It was a well timed attack: bands like had already carved a path of blues, post-punk and grunge into our eardrums, but the music industry was crying out for a sultry swagger. The ferocious Liela Moss proved herself more than qualified. The Duke Spirit's debut Cuts Across the Land garnered the band immense critical acclaim... and then everything went quiet, or at least it seemed to. In reality Moss and company were lost to the American touring void; they went away, and when they came back no one paid attention to them anymore. That much can be deduced from dwindling sales figures and their under acknowledged 2008 album Neptune.

In 2011 the London five-piece aspire to regain what they once had. A third album is due out later on in the spring, and for now they're offering the Kusama EP as a reminder. Needless to say a lot hangs on these tracks - too much, as it turns out.

Kusama does not lack The Duke Spirit's signature sound; it's overcome by it. “Everybody's Under Your Spell” is poor, and resorts to the same tactics the band have used countless times in the past - rolling guitar riff, garage sweat and a chorus that could be featured in an advert for Levi. The first time around it was an exhilarating discovery, but on its third cycle it feels like you're being propositioned by a well known friend. Some will throw themselves eagerly into the arms of their admirer, but others will squirm away in a shroud of uncomfortable familiarity. Either way, there was no need to include three variations of the song on a five track EP. Doing so completely overshadows Moss' still valid charisma, most prevalent on “Northbound” - but even there The Duke Spirit cover old ground.

For those of you feeling despondent following this review - all is not lost. “Victory” delves deeper into the coffers of the band's résumé and comes up with an unexplored slice of
seduction. Its high pitched drawl may not be exceptional, but it suggests there's life in the old horse yet. It's best we wait a few months before we get out the shotgun!

Release date: 7th February 2010