The Duke Spirit, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Their name sounds as American as the Stetson, and their superbly feisty mini-album, Roll, Spirit, Roll is rock music that's been sprinkled with prairie dust and soaked in moonshine. Live, frontwoman Leila Moss obviously feels like she has a mythology to live up to. "I feel like I'm burning in hell, it's so hot in here," she exclaims. "It's the right place for me to burn."

Despite the shamanistic feather that hangs from her black shirt, Moss - who says thank you a lot, and smiles sweetly between songs - seems a little too pleasant for the fiery pit. You could see yourself sharing a pot of tea with her. Her band formed in the well-known frontier town of Cheltenham, and decorate their grungy Americana with artwork from 17th-century English morality prints. When the Duke Spirit start playing, these engagingly mixed messages come together. Moss is soon showcasing a wonderful array of snarls, whoops and stares, her hips swinging like a metronome and her bleached blonde hair swinging lustily about her head. It's magnetic, and suited perfectly to the band's feverish racket.

These are songs that brood and build, full of swampy guitars, percussive breakdowns and passionate intensity. Current single Cuts Across the Land marries dark, choppy riffs and an explosive rhythm section, while Moss does a fine PJ Harvey impression over the top. It's the kind of music you nod your head to, before realising that your legs have gone into spasms and your mouth is fixed in a rictus grin. What really impresses is the sheer number of great songs the Duke Spirit have at their disposal: their first album proper may not be out till the new year, but the London-based five-piece sound fully fledged and fearsome.

· At Norwich Arts Centre (01603 660352), tonight, and Leicester Charlotte (0115 9129000) tomorrow. Then touring.


James Smart

The GuardianTramp

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