April 24, 2008

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The Duke Spirit, Neptune
Artist First Records, April 8
As chick singers go, Liela Moss is a breath of fresh Turkish-cigarette-scented air for middle-road rock fans fed up with lonely bug-eyed waifs and faux-butch leather-jacketed yellers. Mature but jaded in all the right ways, very akin to Feist doing hard, genuinely edgy alt-rock, Moss has been around the block enough times, but many of those trips were chauffer-driven with Bjork and My Bloody Valentine in the CD player. Unlike MBV, however, the faster tunes aren’t like staring at an approaching swarm of flying monkeys through a rain-spattered window; tonally innovative shoegazing is present but playing a secondary role to organic guitar rock, all of which conjures a natural grooviness often remindful of The Cult’s first album. “This Ship Was Built to Last” testifies to that — picture Raveonettes jamming with George Thorogood on an ’80s hair-band anthem. Perhaps the most captivating effort, though, is “The Step and the Walk,” where Moss redlines the mixing board in identical fashion to Grace Slick. Later, “Send a Little Love” translates to Billy Idol on estrogen. B Eric W. Saeger