The Duke Spirit
Gig Seeker Pro

The Duke Spirit

London, England, United Kingdom | MAJOR

London, England, United Kingdom | MAJOR
Band Rock Alternative




"London quintet make a quiver-inducing return (4/5)"

In lead singer Leila Moss's own words, Bruiser is "tough love...a sensual creature...a woodland demon." True enough, you can hear the beast stalking the 12 sultry tracks on this third album; the South London five-piece seemingly utterly consumed by a new-found darkness. Procession and Bodies' swaggering basslines alone are terrifying, while the thumping, malevolent drums throughout only add to the menace. Brief respite comes from Villain's soothing piano-led intro and Don't Wait's sweet melodies, but as both songs unfurl it becomes clear that even The Duke Spirit's ballads are thoroughly unsettling these days. - Q Magazine

"The Duke Spirit Album Review (8/10)"

'Their finest moment to date'. - Clash Magazine

"Pete Cashmore's Single Reviews"

As pleasant a surprise as waking up to find a dozen Krispy Kremes on the bedside table and the person who delivered them fellating you. - Guardian

"The Duke Spirit Live Review"

Moss’s lyrics are triumphantly poetic and she conveys them with a silk soft voice that it is still yet powerful and luxurious. They aren’t afraid to use a dark kind of beauty in their music or to write lyrics with real meaning – and for a band to lay themselves on the line like this is a virtue that often seems lost in modern popular culture.
- Artrocker

"The Duke Spirit Album Review"

As powerful as it is’s impossible not to experience the adrenalin rush of being in the company of a band not only on their way, but on their way under their own steam.

We’ve heard a lot of blink-and-you-miss-it indie power pop before but The Duke Spirit deliver a brass-laced sucker punch that’ll have you holding your jaw, wondering what hit you long after the record has finished. - BBC

"Cult Heroes"

These cult heroes return with a glossy fur coat slung over the shoulders of their dirty blues rock. Liela Moss' rasp has a new smoothness, and with the band thundering beneath it, The Duke Spirit suddenly sound more confident and glamourous than ever before. - Martin Robinson - Deputy Editor NME


Cuts Across The Land - Polydor - 2005
Neptune - You Are Here Music - 2008
Bruiser - Fiction / Universal / Co-Op - September 2011

Roll, Spirit, Roll City Rockers - 2003
Darling You're Mean / Bottom Of The Sea City Rockers - 2003
Cuts Across The Land Loog Records - 2004
Dark Is Light Enough Loog Records - 2004
Love Is An Unfamiliar Name Loog Records - 2005
Lion Rip - 2005
Relieve The Distressed Polydor - 2005



. "We put our songs on a diet, got them lean, mean and hungry sounding," singer Liela Moss says of the dozen stripped-down tracks on the band's new album “Bruiser” "It feels like a different band — well we are a different group on this record".

Bruiser marks a renaissance for all the Dukes: "We still think of ourselves as a rock & roll band, but the emphasis is totally on the roll this time around," guitarist Butler says.
The seven-year-old U.K. outfit — Liela Moss, bassist-turned-guitarist Toby Butler, guitarist Luke Ford, and drummer Olly Betts — decided to record their third album as
a quartet after guitarist Dan Higgins exited, asking new bassist Marc Sallis to join the squad more recently. The result: supreme focus and a scaled-down sound that cuts to
the heart of The Duke Spirit more precisely than ever. "This album feels sharper than before, more articulate" Moss adds. "We can get our teeth into it without having to
wipe the fuzz off first." Translation: After two albums of opaque lyrics and increasingly dense sounds, The Duke Spirit have carved new space into the sonic swathes of their
earlier work. Pushing aside some of the layers of noise to reveal a new heart - a new clarity. The outcome is spectacular.

The Duke Spirit was born when Moss met Butler and Ford at Art College in a town best known for its horse racing and Brian Jones's grave. Descending on London, they
moved into a house with no furniture and wrote what she calls "twee songs," then burned their acoustic guitars and modeled themselves on Spiritualized, The Saints,
Patti Smith, and Sonic Youth. Serendipitously, Betts wandered into a friend of theirs in a shop and mentioned he was seeking a band, right at the crucial point. Together, the
band clicked into a ferocious and beloved live act; Moss is known for her microphone hurling, hip-shaking tambourine with mean harmonica, and all-around otherworldly vigor.
Bruiser started to take shape last winter, when The Duke Spirit came off two years of touring behind their acclaimed sophomore release ‘Neptune’ and hunkered down in
their new London studio space for the first time ever to sketch out tracks on their own turf.

Songwriting sessions were fuelled by the band's rekindled appreciation for an eclectic mix of music; from Robert Fripp/David Bowie to Roxy Music to Depeche Mode.
When gothy rock wasn't on the stereo, inspiration was sought from the darker, sometimes forgotten corners of the NY '60s folk scene, like Karen Dalton and percussive genius Moondog. The band's taste for a more minimalist approach sound-wise, Liela explains, "was marshalled lyrically and musically by strange harmonies that arrive unexpectedly, transient sprinkles of tonal magic, and those short guitar solos that make their point and leave." Quick right hooks...

The gorgeous, ominous, piano-led "Villain" solidly makes the point — the song swells from its delicate beginning as Moss sings, "I’m a villain in love, you're a villain alone" and the key shifts from a triumphant major to a daunting minor, grooving with a hypnotic throb. The chorus is a harmony-rich crescendo; its hooks are the bejeweled, painted claws of a purring wildcat clamping into soft smooth skin. "Don't you stare, you know it's rude," spits Moss in a voice that had begun as tender and graceful but turns cracked and cruel.
After a few months of work in London, the band grabbed their tapes and files for a pilgrimage back to Los Angeles to finish the record with Andrew Scheps (Johnny
Cash, Chilli Peppers, Metallica). Scheps (who has a rep for being Rick Rubin's favourite pair of ears, as well as a production wizard) helped them slim down their
instrumentation so it would ultimately thump on the stereo.
The proof is immediately evident on opener "Cherry Tree," a slinky, driving track built on a rumbling bass line over which Moss proclaims, "I don't look back/Why would you?"
Ideas about the inviolable nature of time and perspective also wound up shaping the sexy, smouldering "Don't Wait," which was born out of a phrase Ford scrawled on a
scrap of paper: "Time changes every idea I've ever had". "This is one song that actually was written on the road, in the back of the bus and dressing rooms," Moss says. "I think
we were both asking questions of ourselves in the context of constant travel and displacement. Escapism is just a word, until you find yourself living it! Then the constant
leaving and arriving starts to cut really deep ".

Since Neptune arrived, The Duke Spirit have had a few adventures collaborating with the fashion world — designers Philip Lim and the late Alexander McQueen called Liela their muse — but Moss says such experiences didn't directly affect Bruiser. "There's an element of costume in a song like 'Procession' that perhaps is related to seeing a part of the fashion world up-close, feeling the theatrics of it in the room," she reveals, "but we have not been changed from those encounters. We have enjoyed the ra