The Duke Spirit - Cuts Across The Land

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2005-05-16

Cuts Across the Land, the debut album by The Duke Spirit, comes with no small amount of expectation, particularly after the release of their promising EP "Roll Spirit Roll" way back in 2003. And on the whole, Cuts Across the Land lives up to the hype. Rather than following the legions of British bands who seem desperate to sound like the Strokes, the Duke Spirit don't look overseas for inspiration. It's a raucous rock & roll album, displaying an energy that manages to stay on the good side of shambolic, lending songs like "Lion Rip" and "Love is an Unfamiliar Name" an excitement that's reminiscent of classic 1960s British groups such as the Rolling Stones and the Faces. And like those bands, The Duke Spirit's music is steeped in soul and the blues (right down to the occasional--and wholly appropriate--harmonica breaks). Liela Moss is a charismatic frontwoman, somewhere between Patti Smith and the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O, she practically embodies cool in her vocal style. It may seem a bit overlong, but Cuts Across the Land may just demonstrate that the future of British rock & roll lies in its past. --Robert Burrow

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