Based in Leeds, this UK indie rock band was formed in 2005 by Jon Foulger (b. Jersey, Channel Islands; vocals), Jim Foulger (b. Jersey, Channel Islands; guitar), Jon Maher (bass), James Kirkbright (drums), and Katherine Botterill (keyboards), from the ashes of their former outfit, Sammy USA, which had recently been released from an abortive major label contract. A limited edition 7-inch single, ‘Potential Futures’, was released in July on the Transgressive Records label, shortly after the band had signed to Nude Records. The singles ‘Pressure On You’ and ‘Animal’ generated further press interest, as did the support of fellow Leeds-based band the Kaiser Chiefs. The melodic guitar pop of The Bright Lights And What I Should Have Learned masked a lyrical obsession with loneliness and trampled dreams that recalled the early work of Suede.
Despite good reviews the album was overlooked by a public besotted by the cheeky sing-a-longs of the Kaiser Chiefs, and the Duels parted company with Nude shortly afterwards. The band’s second album was released digitally in February 2008, with a physical release following via the This Is Fake DIY label two months later. The brooding experimentalism of The Barbarians Move In marked a definite progression from the debut album and saw the band defiantly steering further away from the charts.