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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 24 April 2005
It seems like (and is) years since the Duke Spirit hype machine rolled into action, but its taken until now to finally release a full length album. Thus, much of the content (Dark is Light Enough, Lion Rip and the fantastic title track) has already found its way into fans singles collections, along with B-Sides such as You were Born. The album remains essential however, with the double disc providing a particularly enticing glimplse at the fantastically raw live sound.
For those of you who do not know the Spirit (so to speak), its safe to say that theirs is a well trodden path of My Bloody Valentine feedback, but there is a clearly defined pop sensibility that sets them apart from morose plagarism. Leila shrieks and purrs in equal measures, whilst the thumping drum and bass cut right through layers of artfully constructed noise. At their best, the band provide hugely powerful and animalistic rock pump, with a live rawness that is translated very well into a fantastic debut album. There are flaws (there needs to be a little lyrical development here one feels, particularly on Lion Rip), but overall this is a confident and coherent bunch of songs from a very exciting British band. And Leila's beautiful.
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on 17 May 2005
This is an excellent debut from the Duke Spirit. It had been a work in progress for over a year and many of the songs have already been released on other formats. The songs are a noise-fest of guitars and pounding drums. With the beautiful Leila's vocals over the top they have a distinctive sound and while the record justs fails to match the energy of their fantastic live performances, this is simply an album full of really good songs. The bonus CD is also worth hearing with some fully produced demo tracks and live radio perfomances.
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2005
There has been a deplorable fashion in recent years in the British mainstream, and doubtless elsewhere, for insincere sounding plodding mid-tempo songs by groups of faux-sensitive men. At times there has been more heart-wrenching sensitivity on Top Of The Pops than in reality there is in the whole wide world. It is not what I am looking for in music, and it seems to be in girl-led acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Elastica and PJ Harvey that I find the dispassionate, unsentimental, occasionally sneering and oftwhile malevolent attitude that I like.

Duke Spirit are a shining example of an original girl-led band who are railing against the prevailing tide and providing a no-nonsense alternative. Liela Moss's vocals exude effortless cool and when any emotion fights its way past the punkish guitars and spirited tambourines, it sounds appropriate and sincere, plus she also blows a mean and well-placed harmonica. The band seem to have been influenced by all the right people from the sixties to the present, and have not been sidetracked by musical cul-de-sacs such as Britpop, and at 45 minutes the album is in no danger of outstaying its welcome.

Four of the band's A-sides are included on the album and the British edition adds as a bonus track their superb 2004 single Dark Is Light Enough.

The bonus disc Souvenirs offers 5 high quality eight-track demos of songs not included on the album, plus radio session tracks of five that are, including two acoustic performances for Virgin Radio's Razorcuts, and is well worth having.
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on 29 January 2006
This is the first album that I can safely say I hated and then loved all in the space of about 3 months. I was at the Reading Festival in 2006 and every morning i would wake up with a stonking hangover because the dude in the tent next to me would wap this album on. Dam it really annoyed me!.. but three months later I can safely say that this album is one of the best I own. Liela Moss's vocals are captivating, hypnotic and well do dam cool. The sound is so dirty and punk well I have not stopped listing to this thing since I bought it. Buy the album. You wont be disapointed in the slighted.
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on 29 May 2011
truly a great album. bought it after discovering leilas (singer) vocals on unkle tracks. its not unkle, they're more guitar based. i could waffle on about their sound, however i'd recommend getting a few tracks and im sure you'll soon be buying this album and the follow up 'neptune'
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on 7 July 2005
I bought this album on a premise of reading mixed reviews, but I am quite spontaneous these days with music, I have it in my head that I will not like a certain band and I can be easily dismissive, I thought I wouldn't like Keane and I wrote them off completely but then after hearing them at Glastonbury and Live 8 I bought the album. The same goes with this album, I dismissed it but I figured ' why the hell not ', the difference this time was I hadn't even heard a single song - so you cannot get more spontaneous than that - I think that is the best way because then you do not expect anything!
I have shared an interest in rock and roll since listening to oldies which my dad had in his collection, namely the rolling stones, status quo, chuck berry to name a few and having bought so many rock albums over the past 13 years I know good rock and roll when I hear it. Well I bought Cut Across The Land, thinking I would be wasting my money - but I knew when I pressed play I had made the right decision.
I can't comment on the 2CD limited edition. I have the single CD edition. I like an 'instant' tune; groups like Coldplay have drifted slightly from this which makes for a more forceful/arduous listen - which I don't have patience for sadly. The Duke Spirit have that 'instant tune' going-on throughout the entire album which made it very easy to listen to from the very first track. Leila Moss' voice is of a real hardcore rock-chick and it fits the music so well, in almost a similar way that Liam Gallagher's voice lends to Oasis.
I am really impressed with this debut. It blends classic Rock 'N' Roll with the Blues and many other influences such as Rolling Stones, PJ Harvey etc. I can recommend it to anybody who likes their rock music - because it just hits you in the face and doesn't let go of you for 45 mins. It is easy to dismiss this album as I nearly did, but do not make the same mistake.
So why the 4 stars? Well I figure as it is a debut, it shows a lot of promise, but by no means is it a classic album. I was selfishly expecting some uplifting guitar solos, albeit none.At times the album can seem like a constant 'grunge' (to think of a better word) of guitars, which some listeners may get bored of but I don't mind it as long as it is listenable and has some intriguing riffs. I feel The Duke Spirirt are a band who can go on to bigger and better things, and I urge you to keep a close eye on them. I'm sure their next album will be even better if they continue like this!!
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on 29 July 2007
When I first heard about this band, I was initially put off by the way people seemed to be permanently referring to the 'Celtic' sound of the guitars, harmonies etc. When I finally listened to them I was completely surprsied because to me, hardly anything on this album sounds celtic. The opener, Medicine, is more post-punk than folk, and the only thing which can be connected to the folk tradition is the rhythm, a kind of guitar based stomp. But then, if you want to call music with a four four beat and loud guitars folk, then almost everything rock-based can be included. The singer has a great voice, she is loud, shouty, aggressive, almost soul in places, and the songs are short and never outstay their welcome. My problem with the album is that there is a lack of variation, a lot of the songs sound pretty similiar, but there are a handful of really good pop songs which thankfully do not feature bagpipes, penny whistles or any other form of Celtic instrumentation.
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on 25 October 2007
I like this album alot but its not quite there. While the sound is strong, confident and raw its like there is a small ingrediant missing, not sure what but i feel if i saw them live (unlikely as no decent bands come to Plymouth) it wouldnt be like that, the sounds would make more sense and be more complete. Dont get me wrong its worth your time and still enjoyable. Ive just purchased the new EP so am interested to hear the outcome of recording with Josh.
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on 24 October 2008
Take a wall of sound. Turn the "Raw" control to maximum. Add the vocals of a posh English Debbie (or should I say Deborah) Harry. And that's this record.
I discovered this group with their Neptune CD. That was good - but this is excellent. One of those "pin you back to the settee" albums. Highly recommended.
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on 29 June 2016
Can't believe I've just recently discovered this band, brilliant album.
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