Monday, September 24, 2007

Review: The Duke Spirit "Ex-Voto - EP"

Main Entry: ex-vo·to Pronunciation: (")eks-'vO-(")tO
Etymology: Latin ex voto according to a vow
: a votive offering

Things with religious connotations have an aura of darkness... the sadism of the Egyptians pre-Exodus, original sin, incubi/succubi, Cain & Abel... look throughout religion, and you will find a very prominent darkness. So it makes sense to think that if you hear The Duke Spirit's brand-new Ex-Voto EP and try to imagine what their forthcoming album will be like, you've got something very hazy.

While Ex-Voto is surely not a departure from the sound radiating from their debut album Cuts Across the Land, it is quite darker. The keys throughout the four songs are noticably more minor, and frontwoman Liela Moss's trademark wail seems to be getting a little shakier.

Perhaps in order to start their fans off with something familiar, the EP opens with "Lassoo", which keeps in touch with their original sound, but is perhaps a bit more epic... and oh so angry. It is what we're used to, but at the same time, a wonderful surprise. The EP transitions very nicely into the soft, melancholic "Dog Roses". Moss retains her catty observance, but this track doesn't make her sound like the seductress she usually appears as (though she is still is, of course)... she sounds innocent, ethereal, and longing...

"A Wild Hope" is synchronous with the tone of "Lassoo" (catching the listener's attention quite effectively with the declaration "I wish I tasted like a buttered angel"), and once you've hit the third track, you can see that not one of the tracks has a positive tone. Moss is singing of heartbreak, mourning the past, unrequited love, skepticism...

In the world of art, negativity is usually something to feed off of... though heartbreak is what most spectators would guess, the feelings that these songs hold are very hard to describe. Whatever it is, the powerful feeling is emitted through the music of Ex-Voto... and quite successfully.

Ex-Voto may be less than ten minutes, but if you had doubts before, this will surely have you believing in The Duke Spirit.



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