Looking for a band versed in rock 'n' roll mythology, boasting outsider art sensibilities, and fronted by a seductive, deep sea diva? Look no further. Inside the city walls, charlatans pass themselves off as saviors of rock 'n' roll. But listen close, and there's rolling thunder in the hillsides. Post the sentries, man the gates. The Duke Spirit is coming. Formed in 2003 when singer and harmonica player Liela Moss met guitarist, keyboardist, and singer Luke Ford in art school, this British alternative rock outfit has captured the imaginations of indie rock intelligentsia on both sides of the Atlantic.
After an intial EP titled Darling, You're Mean in 2003, The Duke Spirit released its first major album, Cuts Across the Land, in 2005. The musical equivalent of closed curtains, the disc spoke of narcotic nights, wounded hearts, and absolution in the eyes of strangers. In a climate where a rock 'n' roll mindset meant wearing the same jeans for four days running, it belonged to a more illustrious British lineage – MBV, The Stones, and JAMC. Following rave reviews and support tours with everyone from Mercury Rev to Kasabian, the band naturally found America calling. After a year spent touring the US in 2006, the band returned to the studio to record its sophomore effort Neptune, released in 2008. Dealing in themes of sadness and redemption, death and rebirth, the album has the absolute feel of a timeless classic. It was the band's winning moment, its coming of age.
Bruiser (2011), The Duke Spirit's latest release, finds the band having grown further still, reeling off its aggressive brand of rock with a decidedly darker tone. This heavier mood renders the disc more efficient and vivid than its predecessors. "This album feels sharper than before, more articulate," says Moss, whose sensuous vocal contributions elevate the band's sound to new heights on tracks like "Surrender" and "Northbound." "We can get our teeth into it without having to wipe the fuzz off first."