From left to right: Toby, Liela, Dan, Luke, Olly
Oh we love The Duke Spirit! They're lovely, talented... good-looking... (and a bit kooky...) AND have a fantastically epic goose pimple inducing single, "Love Is An Unfamiliar Name" taken from their debut album, "Cuts Across The Land" out on May 16th! Here we have exclusive personal notes from all 5 band members on each of the tracks...
1. CUTS ACROSS THE LAND
TOBY BUTLER (bass): We gave the album this title as it encompasses an important and recurrent theme for us. It’s about empowering yourself, reaching and striking out with arms open. The rolling rhythms and swirling guitars pile-drive the song into the ground.
2. STUBBORN STITCHES
DAN HIGGINS (guitar): This is a new song which still feels a little bit of an unknown quantity for me, which is probably one of the best things about it . Fantastic Oliver Henry saxophone blasts.
3. DARLING YOU’RE MEAN
LUKE FORD (guitar): One of the first songs we wrote and so a song which along with ‘Red Weather’ really helped to establish our sound. It contrasts a very warm & gentle verse with a pretty brutal chorus. I remember going in to a little rehearsal room & thrashing through ideas on the guitar with Liela playing the drums (which she loves to do given any opportunity!) and trying loads of vocal ideas together till we landed on this arrangement.
4. WIN YOUR LOVE
LUKE: I suppose this song is influenced by a lot of the American groups who some of us grew up listening to such as Pixies & Sonic Youth and more recent groups such as Lift To Experience. Spartan & economical in the verses, sweet bridges and overloaded chorus’s. My favourite part is the breakdown where it really just drops to Liela…one of the quietest moments on the record.
5. HELLO TO THE FLOOR
LIELA MOSS (vocals): I love the way the guitars burst open at the start of the verses, it’s a total sonic high and I always imagine glitter or rays of light pouring out of the ceiling every time we do it live for some reason…lyrically its contrary: It’s me exploring notions of girlhood and thinking about whether our spirit or souls have a gender…or something.
6. BOTTOM OF THE SEA
TOBY: One of the first songs we wrote as The Duke Spirit, and possibly my favourite. It feels like a wise old man sat at the bottom of a well with a glass of whisky in his hand.
7. FADES THE SUN
LUKE: Dan wrote the music to this and from the moment we all heard his demo of it we loved the rhythm a lot. It reminded us of Jackie Wilson! We recorded this with Giles Hall in Battle just before Christmas after a massive group dose of food poisoning…Maybe that’s what makes it sound so angry and uncompromising? Flood’s (our favourite producer) mix is totally perfect.
8. YOU WERE BORN INSIDE MY HEART
LIELA: This title came about from an inspired Chinese-whisper style moment when Toby and Liela misheard Luke, and stumbled upon this beautiful phrase. It seemed to fit perfectly with the themes of a film we had seen around that time, Jesus Son, which we were really into…The title suggests that moment when an idea is first conceived, and begins to be nurtured, or when an emotional epiphany takes place…which I suppose is a notion that runs in and out of lots of our songs.
9. LION RIP
OLLY BETTS (drums): I’ve always felt that lion Rip is the most uplifting song on the album especially lyrically. It always instils that positive “adrenalin high” when we play it live. The duelling guitar breakdown in the middle eight always conjures up panic and debauchery.
OLLY: If you listen to the very start of this song and skip to the end you’ll almost find two different songs. The contrast in Lovetones is a true representation of our sound, the graceful sea shanty beginning evolves into powerful cacophony of noise!
11. LOVE IS AN UNFAMILIAR NAME
LIELA: This builds and builds and works us up into a frenzy. I get so excited about the OOH OOH’s that I struggle to gulp at air. For me it’s a physical song that I’m wrestling with the whole way through, even though in many ways it’s our simplest pop song.
12. RED WEATHER
DAN: I don't always see this as a song , it's like a collection of mantras or totems which bring all that we do into clarity or sharp focus. On tour I look forward to it every day for its fuck-off power and cathartic stomp.