thu 17/08/2017

CD: The Duke Spirit - Sky is Mine | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Duke Spirit - Sky is Mine

CD: The Duke Spirit - Sky is Mine

Fifth album from London alt-rockers comes on thoughtful but tough

Juxtaposes grit and beauty with mostly enthralling results
The Spirit get snakey

The Duke Spirit’s newest album, Sky Is Mine, comes quickly on the heels of 2016’s well-received Kin LP and Serenade EP. Produced by the band themselves, and featuring vocal contributions from the likes of Josh T. Pearson and Duke Garwood, it shows a softer and more contemplative side of The Duke Spirit. Frontwoman Liela Moss goes so far as to claim that “sonically, Sky is Mine is the most tender record [The Duke Spirit] have made”, and she’s not wrong.

Ironically then, the first thing that hits you about album opener “Magenta” is the dirty and propulsive bass of Toby Butler, yet this sets the template for the rest of Sky Is Mine, which juxtaposes grit and beauty with mostly enthralling results. On “Bones of Truth”, soft strings ensconce the slow waltz rhythm in warmth and fragility, while the magic of “See Power” lies in the little discordances that pepper the song, giving it a biting edge underneath the deceptively pretty vocals and structure.

“YoYo” merges the avant-pop of Jesca Hoop with the exotic sway of Blur’s Think Tank, in what ends up being the most insistent and engaging listen of the album. It teeters on mania before plunging into the icy “The Contaminant”, a song with a vulnerability reminiscent of Daughter. Vocally, Moss describes the album as a “snapshot of a palpitating heart that values above all things, life”; while a grand claim, her crystalline vocals are never cold – on the contrary, the (perhaps underused) Duke Garwood on album closer “Broken Dream” lends Moss’s repeated “waiting, waiting, show me / fading, peaceful, show me” a vague sense of hope and expectation.

A beguiling listen, Sky Is Mine showcases this indie/goth band staying on top of their game.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Magenta" by The Duke Spirit

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