Review of Kusama EP by The Duke Spirit

The Duke Spirit are somewhat of an enigma when it comes to measuring success against the quality of their output. Since forming in 2003 The Duke Spirit have produced two very good albums, 'Cuts Across The Land' and 'Neptune'. Both have been equally consistent in quality and individuality. They have been lovingly crafted by the band, and some of the best names in the business (Simon Raymonde/Flood). Each album is full of energy and vibrancy. Both albums contained some stunning stand out tracks, 'Into The Fold', 'Dog Roses', 'My Sunken Treasure', 'Cuts Across' and 'Bottom Of The Sea' among the best.

So why are a "London based" band still relatively unknown here? Aside from being granted the odd spin on 6Music (Huey even had to join the bands mailing list to get the new single) or Radcliffe & Maconie (Soon to be one in the same) The Duke Spirit still seem to be more appreciated in America. Having performed at various big festivals events such as Coachella, as well as some high profile TV shows; Jay Leno, David Letterman and Henry Rollins among them, it would seem that for once our kin from the colonies have accepted/understood/got a band before we have. (shocking)

The Duke Spirit Kusama EP

The Kasuma EP, and the new album which it precedes, 'Bruiser', will hopefully go some way to rectify this imbalance. Whilst not exactly being a radical departure for the band it does however represent a slightly more polished and considered step embracing a Bluesier influence than its predecessor. 'Everybody's Under Your Spell', the lead track taken from the EP, has all the Duke Spirit elements of the past gloriously pasted into one very catchy, radio friendly, anthemic, pulsating, power chord driven Indie Disco floor filler. Why the need for a radio edit version of 20secs less is quite frankly beyond me. 'Victory' and 'Northbound', the remaining tracks, show just how effective Liela's vocals have become. As capable of a soulful croon, with such passion and depth as a rock squall to tear through any frenzied guitar riff, it is a great instrument.

Britain's take on the Yeah Yeah Yeah's? Maybe, but they deserve bigger and better rewards, they're a great band in their own right and it's time to ramp up the slow burn into something incendiary.

Andrew Lockwood.

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