You can tell within the first thirty seconds of 'Cherry Tree', the first track from The Duke Spirit's third album Bruiser, that this album has more of an eye on the music of yesteryear than attempting to conform to whatever the latest trend is. While we've heard the sort of distorted rock that this album hangs its hat on many times before, it's refreshing to hear a band whose influences lie more in the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth than whatever flavour of the month is currently popular, even if this album is slightly more polished than their raw, garage-y first couple.
The three year gap between Bruiser and second album Neptune has clearly been well spent, even if it did involve a mass of tours and a line-up change, and it's apparent that The Duke Spirit haven't allowed themselves to stagnate during this time. Songs like 'Bodies' and 'Procession' showcase Liela Moss's vocals excellently and display a hereto absent range in their catalogue. Perhaps this is down to producer Andrew Scheps' influence; a man who has worked with more established acts like Green Day and Metallica in the past.
While the slightly new approach on Bruiser leaves them slightly open to claims of "I preferred the early stuff", I think most would agree that it's preferable to see a band attempt evolution rather than releasing record after record without attempting to challenge themselves. The Duke Spirit have attempted the former and should be commended for that, but is it really better or have they lost the dynamic which made them so appealing in the first place?