the-duke-spirit

It's always so refreshing to find a  true-blue rock band that honest-to-goodness rocks.  Sultry female singer-check. Pulsing catchy drum beats-check. Intoxicating guitar and bass harmonies-check and check. After the major let down that the new Kings of Leon album was, a band that sticks to its rock roots finds me by way of Neptune, the new Duke Spirit album and our first album of the month. For those of you who enjoy rock, do read on...

Neptune is The Duke Spirit's second album release. It finds a more polished, refined and more confident Duke Spirit attacking with a blitzkrieg of elementary rock tunes like a dirty fist aimed right at your face. The album starts off with a deceptively subdued 45 second introduction. Leila Moss's smoky voice smolders early and warms you up but leaves you completely unprepared for the firestorm you're about to hear. The album kicks off with the first single, Send A Little Love Token, with a momentum generated by the throbbing drumwork and clumsy and simplistic piano line which is reminiscient of 96 Tears, or I Wanna Be Your Dog.The sheer monotony of the piano note being played provides enough inertia to drive the song through your ignorant little eardrums. While nowhere near as sludgy or unpolished as anything The Stooges might have made at their cleanest, each song is stained with a grime and filth that only galvanizes their rock aesthetic. Not stopping for one fucking second (thank the rock gods) the album immediately moves into The Step and The Walk, which besides Lasoo illustrates nothing if not the power, soul, and charm of the Moss's vocals. She croons, "..as though I'm movin' to the end, am I movin' to the end of your lovin'..." and you wonder about the poor schmuck who let this bird get away. This Ship Was Built to Last is another winner, swaying to and fro like a schooner of rock on a mission to rock your face.  The most likely fodder for commercial success has to be Lassoo which sounds ripe for the picking for the next iPod commercial. The only redundancy on the album is the less-than-stellar You Wake Up The Love In Me, which sounds at best like a watered down demo version of Lassoo and a lazy effort at filler at worst. This album works well anywhere, in your car, at the gym, or playing on your media player at home while you smoke your psychotropic substances.

The album is not in any way grounbreaking. This of course is not the point. The strength of the album lies in its elegance as a true rock album. Though at times it may seem the band indulges itself in rock throwbacks like The Yardbirds, Bo Diddley, Blondie, My Bloody Valentine, etc, their influences are hard to pin down, and at best an educated listener can only vaguely approximate what they might like to listen to. That being said, they are in no way derivative. This album could have been made 20 years from now or 20 years ago and sound just as fresh and energetic. The reason for this is the simple fact that The Duke Spirit are true-blue practioners of rock'n'roll, the kind God had in mind. The album has it's slower moments, such as Dog Roses and Wooden Heart. These are not the best songs on the album and are some of my least favorite songs on the album, but they manage to provide contrast to the rest of the album giving it a bit of depth and dimension. This album is technically a vast improvement of their first album Cut Across The Land; although a great record in its own right, it pales in comparison the the production and tighter musicianship displayed on Neptune. For those of you who consider yourself true rock fans, put down that copy of The Jonas Bros., or The All-American Rejects, or that unmerciless piece of trash Kings of Leon are trying to pass off as their latest effort (or whateverthefuckelse you kids are listening to these days) and pick up Neptune. Your musical sense of taste won't be able to thank you enough-and you'll totally get some legit indie-music nerd street cred. I'd like the thank Shangrila Music for providing the compact disc for this review as well as hours of rocking out in my room. 'Til next week kids...

...and before I forget, let me leave you with a little morsel for those of you who haven't been converted...