The Duke Spirit Neptune

Cuts Across the Land was an auspicious debut for this quintet of bluesy alternative rockers, delivering surprisingly ballsy bombast without obscuring a wide spectrum of delicately explored moods. If Neptune makes less of a splash, it’ll likely be because, even though it’s more massive and mystical than its predecessor, you can see it coming. The peaks and valleys have all grown. After an odd 44-second a cappella intro, "Send a Little Love Token” kicks in; it’s a wicked little barnburner buzzing with guitar grit and a pounding percussive stomp under the guiding light of Leila Moss’s soulful pipes. Credit must be given for the band’s efficiency in getting their rocks off while sounding so epic. Slow burning centrepiece "Wooden Heart” is as long-winded as the songs get on Neptune and it still wraps up in fewer than five minutes. The Duke Spirit have got to be the most exciting band today doing a spectacular job of sounding fresh while doing nothing new. (Shangri-La)