The third solo album from Duke Spirit‘s lead singer Liela Moss is confident, focused on the kind of pop introspection that has really served artists like Roisin Murphy, Perfume Genius and Self Esteem well in the last few years. We are talking genre-blurring indie pop here, with a plethora of influences guiding it. There are a few collaborative voices joining her, as she rallies against our collective bugbears, like big business and exploitation, the self-interest of politicians and a general feeling of burnout. But this is only one side of the coin, as the rest feels more personal.
The emotional intimacy of more minimal songs is affecting. New Day is raw and defiant, inspired by early 90s dancefloor fillers and avant-pop, and Ache In The Middle is a dark piano ballad featuring Savages’ Jehnny Beth, where their vocals really soar together.
Moss’ voice is effortless and lovely. She has an impressive range, with a buttery vibrato, and it contrasts nicely with the juddering beats, most notably on the Gary Numan duet Vanishing Shadows and Come And Find Me, but sometimes her lyrics feel a little trite, as with her meditation on toxic positivity and online data gathering (Empathy Files) and societal apathy (Love As Hard As You Can). Easy rhymes and well-worn subject matter make it a little difficult to warm to at times. But her heart’s in the right place, and her passion and optimism is undeniably infectious.