The Duke Spirit
A London band but not obviously part of any particular scene. They've been quoted as saying that they basically make music to please themselves. Reflecting their name, The Duke Spirit did at first have a more eccentric style, with a well worked Eighteenth Century woodcut look to their covers and their previous website. The music, too had an a slightly out of phase air to it. At heart, they're very much a guitar band, with Leila Moss's distinctive strong vocals and lyrics giving them a distinctive edge. So, have they made a real impact? Not exactly; I don't often meet people who've heard of them. But they tour a lot - recently, to the US - and decent audiences turn up. Or do they? I've seen them just the twice ...which you can read about below.
A little slow in coming, second album Neptune made its appearance in 2008. Despite the name, it's not too much of a salty dog. They do write sea flavoured songs now and again but they're not such as to have us break out into shanties. I like this album a lot, but then I like their sound anyway. Being critical, it doesn't have the wow factor I'd hoped for, and they're less attractively odd these days, but it's still a very good follow up, and some of the new songs are excellent.
Cuts Across The Land
One or two eps preceded this very full package, their first album Cuts Across The Land (2005). And this Special Edition was even fuller, containing a second disk of b-sides and other songs. And it still didn't include a lot of the earlier material. For instance Souvenir, there's a song I'd have loved to have seen on it. Also, for what it is, the cardboard sleeve was somewhat annoying, because the disks could easily slip from one side to the other when you opened it out. But if that's all I've got to complain about...!
The Duke Spirit's website is revamped for Neptune etc.. Worth a visit. Hang on - what's this? First we have to decide between 'UK & Rest of the World', and 'North America'? Who thought that up? The main difference seems to be the gig listing. Not quite sure why a fan from one region only needs to see dates for that region; unless it's to avoid confusion as regards the illogical US dating system - ah, that'll be it.