A Stunning Comeback
The Duke Spirit's second album has quite a challenge following up the critically acclaimed and much loved 2005 debut, 'Cuts Across The Land'. Luckily 'Neptune' reminds you of all the finest traits that the group offer: the bluesy rhythmic strut, the woozy melodic rock rapture and Liela Moss' dominating vocals.
The fact that the album starts off with a brief moment of psychedelic harmony in the form of 'I Do Believe', rather like a hippy choral arrangement, shows that The Duke Spirit have lost none of their creativity. The blissed-out mood continues on single, 'The Step And The Walk' with its sultry, repetitive and therefore highly hypnotic melody and 'Dog Roses'. The latter sees Liela manage to blend menacing lyrics, "I hope you stay in charge of your mouth", with icey nonchalance above a background of clattering percussion and glimmering guitar chords before a meandering harmonica line lilts in. It's exactly the kind of stunning wanderlust and unrest that The Duke Spirit are best at.
'Send A Little Love Token' is a brooding sentiment of swaggering rock, the kind of love song that all women with balls should advance this Valentine's Day. 'Into The Fold' blisters with a similar barrage of raucous rock riffs. 'My Sunken Treasure' continues the colourful fevered blues rock bent with screeching overdrive and sighing vocals sweeping over the listener like a tsunami.
'Wooden Heart' is delicate and touching, but without stepping into the terrain of simpering or sugary. The beautifully wistful vocals, "I would understand your heart if I could feel it" lull the listener into a reflective mood that's soon shaken up by the wailing guitar slides.
'Neptune' is a radiant records that breathes effortless cool with rippling melodies and subtle beauty exuded from its every pulsing drumbeat. If you'd forgotten how good The Duke Spirit were, this is one hefty reminder.