Personnel: Liela Moss (vocals, organ, kalimba, percussion); Toby Butler (guitar, piano, synthesizer, vibraphone); Luke Ford (guitar, organ); Olly Betts (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Charlie Russell.
The Duke Spirit have undergone more than a few musical changes over the years, growing more eclectic with Neptune and Bruiser. On Kin, it's clear they've weathered some major life changes as well: singer Liela Moss' stepmother passed the same week guitarist/keyboardist Luke Ford welcomed his first child. Fittingly, the band spends most of this album taking it all in instead of taking action. "In silence I wait for the motion," Moss sings on "Here Comes the Vapour," surrounded by ethereal harmonies that seem to drift into listeners' ears. Though they worked with producer and former Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde on Cuts Across the Land, this time the Duke Spirit sound more like the music he's usually affiliated with. Kin's dreamiest moments are some of its finest, from the lush opener "Blue & Yellow Light" to "Pacific," which uses the almost tangible quality of the theremin to bring the album's otherworldly sadness to a peak. Even when the band returns to its more expected blues-rock, it's subdued: songs like "Sonar" and "Side by Side" are filled with longing, not hedonism. Not surprisingly given Kin's emotional roots, quieter moments like "Wounded Wing" and "100 Horses Run" fare better than the louder ones. "Follow" is another standout, with an undulating melody and just enough pop to give it some lightness. Though it feels disjointed at times, at its best Kin captures the emotional impact of changes and their aftermath. ~ Heather Phares
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