Tag Archive | "The Leisure Society"

The Leisure Society – The Haunt, Brighton (April 16, 2013)

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The Leisure Society – The Haunt, Brighton (April 16, 2013)

Posted on 21 April 2013 by Dorian

To use a popular football cliche, this gig was a game of two halves. The first a bit cautious and unconvincing, the second bordering on wonderful. This wasn’t as a result of the songs chosen at the beginning and the end of the gig, a pretty good range of old and new songs was played throughout, but more to do with the band and the audience (me at least) getting comfortable with the sound.

The Leisure Society

The band commented a couple of times that they were without their usual sound engineer, and couldn’t hear themselves properly. This seemed to take the edge of their performance, even though the quality of the sound seemed pretty good from where I was standing. I had more of an issue getting used to their new arrangements for songs they were playing. Gone, for a lot of the set at least, was the chamber pop sound that marked out their earlier work and gigs, with Will Calderbank’s cello no longer part of the set-up and Mike Siddell often playing guitar, there were no strings at all on several songs. There was also more of a classic pop sound, with electric guitars and keyboard sounds being core to the make-up of the songs being played. Not once did singer Nick Hemming play the banjo, a key part of their early sound.

The slight change in arrangement was hardly a radical shift, and the playing was pretty first rate throughout. However, even though ‘A Matter of Time’, from their debut album, is a great song I did miss the mass ukulele finish from when I’ve seen them play it live before. Conversely their excellent latest single, ‘Fight For Everyone’, sounded pretty. Just as shiny a piece of pop live as on record.

The Leisure Society

Through the gig the band seemed to get more comfortable, and I was enjoying the songs more and more. In most cases it was the quieter  more introspective sounding songs, that worked best. A case in point was ‘The Sober Scent of Paper’, another from their latest album (reviewed here) and as good as song as the Ivor Novello winning ‘Last of the Melting Snow’ that made the band’s name.

All told this was a pretty good gig, with some great moments shining through. I’m glad that the band doesn’t want to sit still, it would be a shame if they stayed safe with the formula of The Sleeper throughout their career. So even if I’m not 100% convinced of a new arrangement, at least I get to hear the song played differently, I already have the original at home. Regarding the band’s issues with the sound, my advice to them is to roll with it a bit more. They are a very polite group and we’d all enjoy the show more if they worried a little less about sounding perfect. The songs are uniformly excellent, play them with confidence and you’ll not go far wrong.

By Dorian Rogers. Photos by Nic Newman.

See more pictures on our Flickr page.

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The Leisure Society  – Alone Aboard the Ark

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The Leisure Society – Alone Aboard the Ark

Posted on 03 April 2013 by Joe

I’ll admit I didn’t like Alone Aboard the Ark, the third album by The Leisure Society, at first. In comparison with the relaxed folk pop of their debut album Sleeper and 2011’s Into the Murky Water its synths and Brit pop guitars was too much to take in on a first listen; like a band unsure of its direction.

But luckily this is going to be one of those reviews where the cliché of being rewarded for giving an album time comes true. The track Fight for Everyone, written by the band’s singer and chief songwriter Nick Hemming about the Olympics, is a case in point. Layered with synths it sounded a world away from the sweeping chamber pop of old at first. But on further listens it not only reveals itself to be one of this year’s standout pop songs but these new sounds actually suit Hemming’s voice and the band well.

And while the trumpets on this track, as well as One Man and His Fug, sounded busy on first listen, on repeated airings they take the band’s pop to new, uplifting levels.

So what’s behind this change of direction? Quite simply they’ve had access to smart, shiny sonic tools for the first time. While the previous two albums were essentially home recorded this time around they have been given the run of Konk Studios, London, run by none other than The Kinks’ Ray Davies, who is a fan of the band.

Davies must surely have been an influence, particularly in the album’s middle section where Hemmings’ ear for a pop hook on Fight for Everyone, Tearing the Arches Down, the Sober Scent of Paper and All I Have Seen is taken to new levels.  The ballsy guitars of Tearing the Arches Down is another new sound to their palette, which has a wonderful swirl to the chorus.

Part of my initial reservation is because the beginning to the album is a little weak. Opener Another Sunday Psalm is among the weakest melodies on the album and the 1950s style guitar on second track A Softer Voice Takes Longer still sounds out of place and has failed to improve on further listens.

But as the melody of Fight for Everyone continues to resonate in my head such quibbles seem irrelevant for a band we are proud to have championed since their roots in Brighton’s Wilkommen Collective of musicians.

It’s worth noting that fellow Collective band The Miserable Rich, which shares members of The Leisure Society, is on a hiatus this year. This innovative and rewarding album from their comrades couldn’t have come at a better time to ensure we still get our Wilkommen fix.

8.5/10

by Joe Lepper

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Top 20 Albums of 2011

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Top 20 Albums of 2011

Posted on 02 December 2011 by Joe

We have to admit the year started badly in terms of album releases.  By March we were struggling to think of more than a couple of excellent album releases let alone begin a shortlist of 20.

Then winter turned to spring and the flood gates opened with  new bands emerging and some old stagers reliving their glory days and in some cases bettering them. We have our first ever classical music entry in an end of year album list, some great new UK folk music and a staggering achievement in song writing by one familiar face in our end of year lists.

We’ve even found room for an album about 1970/80s wrestling by one of the music industry’s funniest and most caustic writers and artists.

In the end its turned out to be a pretty fine year for releases, as two of the biggest names of 1990s alternative music battle it out for our top two places.  Get your bus fare ready, prepare to race down to your local independent record store, and enjoy Neonfiller.com’s Top 20 Albums of 2011.

20. Johann Johannson – The Miners’ Hymns

In a year of public sector cuts, strikes and the Gleision mining tragedy this soundtrack by  Jóhann Jóhannsson to Bill Morrison’s mining documentary of the same name helped it become our first classical music entry in an end of year list. The haunting and powerful music he creates to depict the brutal hardships of the industry and the chaos of the 1984 strike were recorded live at Durham Cathedral, which gives it added gravitas. Read our full review here.

19. Okkervil River – I Am Very Far

This Texan band’s follow up to its critically acclaimed previous albums The Stage Names and The Stand Ins brings more fire and bite to their sound as frontman Will Sheff took co-production duties. At times cinematic, at others indie rock not one of its 11 tracks are skippable. Among are highlights are opener The Valley and one of its singles Wake Up and Be Fine.  Read our full review here.

18. John Maus – We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves

Former Ariel Pink collaborator John Maus has plunged deep into the murky waters of the early 1980s to deliver one of the most stark, fascinating and strangely enjoyable slices of synth pop you will hear all year. Among our highlights on this, his third album, is the track ‘Cop Killer’. Read our full review here.

17. The Leisure Society  – Into The Murky Water

This second album by The Leisure Society gives us the urge to jump in our Neon Filler branded Morris Minor, dress up in our  Prisoner gear and take a dip in the murky waters of Bognor Regis or Portmerion, stopping off for some fish and chips and a pickled egg. This eccentric, most English of albums was one of the highlights of our summer. Read our full review here.

16. Timber Timbre – Creep on Creepin On

Featuring core multi-instrumentalist members Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen and Simon Trottier this peach of an album by Canada’s Timber Timbre seems to inhabit another universe where 1950’s B-movie soundtracks and dirty rock and roll rule supreme. It’s a strange mix that works thanks to Kirk’s soulfully odd (or should that be oddly soulful) vocals and the added instrumentation of pianist Mathieu Charbonneau and saxophonist Colin Stetson to add to its vintage charm. Read our full review here.

15. Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell – Kite

Just like the Mercury nominations we like to feature a new folk act in our end of year round ups. This year’s slot goes to the excellent Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell. Nominated for a 2011 BBC Folk horizon award, given to emerging new talent, they have clearly caught the ear of Radio 2’s Mike Harding and his production team. Rachel Unthank and her husband Adrian McNally are also admirers and produced this wonderful debut from the pair  in Northumberland. Read our full review here.

14. Singing Adams – Everybody Friends Now

This debut album from former Broken Family Band man Steven Adams’ latest project was one of the best indie-pop releases of the year, mixing Adams’ clever and poignant lyrics with a fine bunch of melodies. His band are a bunch of seasoned indie and alternative musicians and live they are well drilled outfit. We have been so impressed that they topped our Top Ten bands to watch out for in 2012 list. Our highlights on this excellent album include the singles I Need Your Mind and Injured Party. Read our full review here.

13. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse

With its stripped back feel, punctuated with squealing electric guitars and flutes, Apocalypse can be an unsettling listen at times, but not for too long as Callahan’s luxuriously deep voice has a calming influence and can easily draw you back to normality.  Read our full review here.

12. Battles – Gloss Drop

There are so many striking aspects to Gloss Drop, the follow up to the crazy, cartoonified thrill ride that was Battles’ last album Mirrored.  The range of singers including Gary Numan, the sense of fun and above all some superb drumming are just some that immediately spring to mind. Read our full review here.

11. David Lowery  – The Palace Guards

The Palace Guards is the first solo album from  Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven front-man David Lowery. It’s taken a while to come out but  its been worth the wait. This is among the best work from one of alternative music’s most engaging songwriters. Read our full review here.

10. The Miserable Rich – Miss You In The Days

Three albums in and The Miserable Rich are really hitting their stride as one of the UK’s most innovative acts, mixing compelling story telling with chamber pop and most importantly some damn fine tunes. Among the highlights on this their third album is the swirling Ringing the Changes. Read our full review here.

9. Kathryn Calder – Are You My Mother?

This  solo album from New Pornographer Calder has the professionalism and confidence you’d expect from a seasoned performer and her personality shines through lifting it above the norm and adding real charm to proceedings. The album was recorded while looking after her mother who was dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease. This gives the album an underlying sense of melancholy in places that adds an emotional depth few songwriters can manage. Read our full review here.

8. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

The Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle’s song writing and survival instincts grow stronger with each release.  With three different producers there’s a surprising consistency as he exposes his hidden demons and offers up  some bittersweet tales of the famous along the way, from Charles Bronson to Judy Garland.  Uplifting stuff.  Read our full review here.

7. Low – C’Mon

C’mon may just be this year’s great American album, with echoes of Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons throughout. With very precise production from Matt Beckley and the band,  which is fronted by husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, they have created an album that is melancholy, epic and just plain beautiful in places. Read our full review here.

6. Destroyer – Kaputt

An immaculate attention detail in recreating the sounds and production of the 1980s has helped Dan Bejar (aka Destroyer) become the second member of Canadian super group The New Pornographers to enter our Top 20.  Bejar has never sounded better as he takes the role of world weary rock star reminiscing in style. Part New Order, part Prefab Sprout, this is arguably his best album to date.  Read our full review here.

5. Wilco – The Whole Love

Wilco - The Whole Love

The Whole Love is probably closest in style to previous album Wilco (The Album) but  that little bit better. It also shows  a band at the peak of its powers, playing with confidence, inventiveness and real skill. You get the pop Wilco, the rock Wilco, the experimental Wilco and the soft melodic Wilco, all of which adds up to one of the most satisfying releases of the year. Read our full review here.

4. Luke Haines – 9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations On British Wrestling Of The 1970s and Early 1980s.

Luke Haines Wrestling

The former Auteur and author of the excellent  book Bad Vibes returns from a two year recording break to turn his attention to the world of British wrestling from around 30 years ago. Witty, concise, well executed and completely unlike any other album we’ve heard this year. Haines clearly isn’t quite ready to throw the towel in just yet on his recording career. Read our full review here.

3. Darren Hayman – January Songs

Busy doesn’t even come close to describing  Darren Hayman’s year. He was involved in the  Vostok 5 art exhibition and album about space explorers, released an album of piano ballads  The Ships Piano, plays bass in Rotifer and  is involved in all sorts of Christmas releases for  Fika Recordings. His crowning achievement though for us was to write,  record and release a song a day during January. The end product January Songs, which is available to download and from January 2012 in CD format, contains some of the former Hefner frontman’s best work and offered a  great example of social media interaction between artist and audience, who helped him along the way with lyrics and ideas.  Read our full review here.

2. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Mirror Traffic

Thanks to production from Beck the former Pavement frontman has ditched some of his rock star, guitar squealing cliches to reveal one of  his best albums for years and certainly his best since his Pavement glory days. The finely honed  single The Senator is among our many highlights. Read our full review here.

1. Boston Spaceships – Let It Beard

Let It Beard

Narrowly pipping Stephen Malkmus to the top spot is another veteran of the 1990s US alternative music scene, Robert Pollard and his act Boston Spaceships. The album echoes a number of Pollard’s favourite classic acts, the Beatles are in there, but it is The Who that are the most obvious influence on this guitar drenched album. It has the Pollard stamp throughout and you can’t imagine anyone else producing a record quite like this now, or any time in the last 30 years. Read our full review here.

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

See also: Spotify – Neonfiller.com’s Best of 2011 Spotify List.


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Mercury Nominations – Three Albums The Panel Missed

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Mercury Nominations – Three Albums The Panel Missed

Posted on 19 July 2011 by Joe

The Mercury 2011 nominations are now in. Those that have made the list include Adele, Elbow and PJ Harvey. It’s an eclectic, albeit safe, list again from the Mercury panel but here we list three albums that wrongly slipped under the judges’ radar.

Alice Gun – Blood  & Bone


Recorded in London and the Lake District, there’s a real sense of drama and space to this debut album by Gun. This is created through a perfect, sparse use of instruments, mainly played by herself and focused around her cello and piano. The feel is  eerie, almost scary at times, but beautifully matches her vocals to create something that could only really have come from a UK artist. Her similarities with PJ Harvey, who was nominated, perhaps put judges off. We think there was room enough on the list for both though, especially as Gun draws on far broader English folk  influences.

Read our full review here.

Singing Adams – Everybody Friends Now


Featuring former Broken Family Band singer songwriter Steven Adams this UK act hark back to a golden era of indie music from the likes of Teenage Fanclub and The Wedding Present. Underpinning this debut are some damn fine tunes with Adams revealing himself consistently as one of Britain’s great modern songwriters. Shame Mercury judges failed to notice this as well.

Read our full review here.

The Leisure Society – Into the Murky Water


This very English indie pop act already have  an Ivor Novello nomination under their belt and we had high hopes that this second album by the band would attract the attention of the Mercury panel.  As well as some classic eccentric pop there’s once again a fine attention to production and detail.

Read our full review here.

Here’s the full list of those that did receive a Mercury nomination

Adele – 21
Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
Everything Everything – Man Alive
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
Gwilym Simcock – Good Days At Schloss Elmau
James Blake – James Blake
Katy B – On A Mission
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Metronomy – The English Riviera
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy

by Joe Lepper

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Top Ten Albums of 2011….so far

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Top Ten Albums of 2011….so far

Posted on 08 June 2011 by Joe

Welcome to our round up of 2011’s album releases so far. Our early thoughts are that compared to the same time last year 2011 hasn’t been as great. True, there’s been some fine albums, but far less competition to get into our top ten and only one runaway contender for the top slot.

The list below  picked itself fairly easily but whereas in June last year we pretty much already our Top 20 Albums of 2010 list in place. There were a handful that did narrowly miss out though, and are more than likely to feature in our end of year Top 20. These include Johann Johannsson’s classical masterpiece Miners’ Hymns and newcomer Alice Gun’s Blood and Bone.

Another feature of this year’s list is the dominance of American acts with a folk, country leaning, with just three UK acts making our list and one Canadian.

Sit back, get your early Christmas lists ready and enjoy Neonfiller’s Top Ten Albums of 2011 ….so far.

10.Singing Adams – Everybody Friends Now

Featuring former Broken Family Band singer songwriter Steven Adams this UK act hark back to a golden era of indie music from the likes of Teenage Fanclub and The Wedding Present. Underpinning this debut are some damn fine tunes. The future of UK indie music is in safe hands. (Read our full review here)

9. The Leisure Society – Into the Murky Water

A beautiful, inventive and thoroughly English pop record that more than matches this former Willkommen Collective act’s stunning debut The Sleeper. (Read our full review here)

8.Bill Callahan Apocalypse

With its stripped back feel, punctuated with squealing electric guitars and flutes, Apocalypse can be an unsettling listen at times, but not for too long as Callahan’s luxuriously deep voice has a calming influence and can easily draw you back to normality.  (Read full review here)

7.Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Timeless harmonies and lush pastoral folk arrangements are the hallmarks of Fleet Foxes and this their second album sticks close to the formula. It’s beautiful stuff at times, with real care taken over production values. (Read full review here)

6. The Decemberists – The King is Dead

A  change of pace and style for Colin Meloy’s band on an  album that is most influenced by the radio safe country pop of REM.  (Read our full review here)

5. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

John Darnielle’s song writing and survival instincts grow stronger with each release.  With three different producers there’s a surprising consistency as The Mountain Goats expose their hidden demons and offer some bittersweet tales of the famous along the way, from Charles Bronson to Judy Garland.  Uplifting stuff.  (Read our full release here)

4. David Lowery – The Palace Guards

The Palace Guards is the first solo album from Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven front-man David Lowery. It’s taken a while but  its worth the wait as this is among his best work. (Read the full review here)

3. Okkervil River- I am Very Far

The Texas act are back with an ambituous, cinematic indie rock album.  Among our highlights are opener ‘The Valley’, with pounding drums and a string arrangement that is part ‘Bellbottoms’ by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, part Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (Read our full review here)

2. Destroyer – Kaputt

Although this was the only one of our Top 10 that made NME’s lacklustre Top 50 albums of 2011 so far list, don’t let that put you off. Dan Bejar has never sounded better, harking back to an early 80s sound, it is part Prefab Sprout, part New Order as Bejar takes the role of world weary rockstar reminiscing in style. (Read our full review here)

1. Darren Hayman – January Songs

Our runaway top placed album goes to former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman and his successful attempt to write, record and release a song a day in Janaury. Not only did he come up with 31 excellent and diverse songs,  featuring a range of artists such as Allo Darlin’s Elizabeth Morris and Spanish band Litorol, but he also created a multi-media experience that gave his audience a unique insight into the song writing process. Each day to compliment the song, he also released a video, video diary and artwork. People were invited to submit ideas and help with lyrics and our co-editor’s runaway dog Arthur even inspired a song. January Songs is a  superb effort that is going to take some beating if it is to be toppled from first place by December. (Read our full review, including a link to buy this download only album, here)

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Southern Tenant Folk Union – Pencaitland

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Southern Tenant Folk Union – Pencaitland

Posted on 07 June 2011 by Joe

Southern Tenant Folk Union are among a fine crop of genre crossing folk acts to emerge in the UK in recent years. Like England’s The Miserable Rich and The Leisure Society this Edinburgh based act are accomplished folk musicians, have respect for tradition but are brave enough to try out some new tricks. They also have some pretty good tunes as well.

For STFU on Pentcaitland there is a strong folk feel regarding the instruments and in some of the melody, but there’s so much more going on to refer to this as a simple folk album.

Take ‘I dream of burning buildings’ for example. This opener uses traditional instruments but has a strong contemporary feel and above all is a beautiful song.

Elsewhere the tracks merge between traditional folk, radio friendly ballads and political songs. Sometimes upbeat, sometimes sad there’s a lot that impresses us here.

In their press release the band, that was formed five years ago by banjo player and vocalist Pat McGarvey, is keen to emphasis that it is a ‘democratic album, with five of its seven members taking song writing duties. Lead vocal duties are also shared around the band.

While lead vocalist Ewan Macintyre is still the standout Scottish voice on the album violinist Carrie Thomas’s vocals offer something different on ‘The Tide’ as does the English voice of guitarist Jed Milroy, particularly on one of the more traditional sounding tracks ‘An Irish Airman Forsees His Death’, which is adapted from the WB Yeats poem.

There’s undoubtedly something for the beardy traditional folksters in their music, but I urge those that have started to look and marvel at bands such as The Miserable Rich to check out Southern Tenant Folk Union as well. There’s clearly a lot more to come from this act, given their desire to push the boundaries of folk music rather than stubbornly stick to its traditional basics.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

For more information visit Southern Tenant Folk Union’s website here.

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The Leisure Society – Into The Murky Water

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The Leisure Society – Into The Murky Water

Posted on 06 May 2011 by Joe

When the Willkommen Collective of chamber pop and folk bands began emerging in Brighton a few years back there were two acts that stood out from the pack, The Miserable Rich and The Leisure Society. It is no surprise that both have now gone on to slightly larger indie labels and greater success through their blend of Englishness, beautiful music, pop savvy tunes and story telling.

While for us The Miserable Rich are story tellers that happen to play great music, with The Leisure Society their music is arguably far more about the tunes than the lyrics.  ‘Last of the Melting Snow’ on The Leisure Society’s debut album The Sleeper (review here) even achieved a prestigious Ivor Novello nomination.

On this their second album, as with their debut, they have once again produced some great tunes all wrapped up in a warm, cosy sense of Englishness.

The first single ‘This Phantom Life’ (see video here)  is among the most pop savvy tracks, but there’s so much more radio friendly stuff here, suggesting that bigger and better things await this English treasure of a band. ‘Dust on the dancefloor’ and ‘You Could Keep Me Talking’ are our pick of the tracks.

But as with all good albums there needs to be even more than just a good sense of melody, they also need a sense of direction and purpose.  For us this album gives us the urge to jump in our Neon Filler branded Morris Minor, dress up in our  The Prisoner gear and take a dip in the murky waters of Bognor Regis or Portmerion, stopping off for some fish and chips and a pickled egg on the way and listening to this most summery, most eccentric, most English of albums.

8.5/10

by Joe Lepper

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The Leisure Society – This Phantom Life

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Joe

The Leisure Society have announced details of their second album Into the Murky Water and released this splendid video, featuring comedy actor Mark Heap,  for its first single This Phantom Life.

The new album by one of our favourite UK bands will be released on 2 May and the single on April 25.

A tour has also been announced:

MAY
3rd Brighton Komedia
4th Bristol Thekla
5th Nottingham Rescue Rooms
7th Leeds Brudenell Social Club
8th Glasgow King Tuts
9th Manchester Band on the Wall
10th London Union Chapel

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The Robot Heart – Dust EP

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The Robot Heart – Dust EP

Posted on 26 October 2010 by Joe

We usually try and stick to reviews of forthcoming and newly released albums and EPs but occasionally we miss something that is so up our alley that it would be a crime not to review it. So please welcome to our pages Dust, the debut EP released earlier this year by Brighton based folk/indie act The Robot Heart

There are many like The Robot Heart that fit into the so called nu-folk bracket, but unlike , say Mumford and Sons, this act manage to take folk to new, more mainstream levels and crucially retain credibility.

This credible nu-folk arena is fast becoming a busy place, with fellow Brighton acts like The Miserable Rich and Leisure Society doing well. The Robot Heart are a more than welcome addition.

The Robot Heart

Why the praise? Well, from the beautiful arranged harmonies on opener ‘Raining Stones’ to the heartbeat rhythms of standout track ‘Lost In Stereo’ it’s clear this is no ordinary act.

The mix of chamber pop, choral harmonies, epic film score quality and down to earth folk is exceptional but like all good ideas based on simple foundations. Just a twinkle of acoustic guitar here, a basic piano melody underpinned by subtle brush drummed percussion there. Its simple but remarkably effective in creating a sense of mood.

The track ‘The Robot Heart’, is a case in point with its wintry feel and sounds a little like Tuung at times. Final track ‘Singing To The Ghost’, which is one of three acoustic tracks to round off the EP, is another standout that retains an epic quality despite its more low key production.

As an EP Dust is perhaps the biggest tease of the year, leaving me full of anticipation for their first full length debut, which is due out next year on their label Bleeding Heart Recordings.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

Bleeding Heart Recordings

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The Leisure Society – The Sleeper/A Product Of The Ego Drain

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Joe

The Leisure Society’s debut album came out in March this year to pretty universal acclaim. The band have now moved from the Willkommen label to a “proper” label, Full Time Hobby, and put the album out again.

This new edition of the album includes a bonus EP of demos and unreleased tracks, mainly recorded at the same time as the album.

The Leisure Society have a sound that is hard to find comparisons with other artists. The easiest reference point is The Beach Boys, but a Beach Boys that got their sound from rural England rather than the beaches of California.

Ivor Novello nominated track ‘The Last of the Melting Snow’ is an album standout, with its blissful harmonies and beautifully arranged flutes and strings, but there are many other equally good songs on the album. ‘A Short Weekend Begins With Longing’ and ‘Save It For Someone Who Cares’ stand out, and both manage to be sweet and heartfelt whilst staying the right side of tweeness.

Backed by members of Brighton’s Willkommen collective band leaders Nick Hemming and Christian Hardy have produced a musically very accomplished album. This is made all the more impressive by their decision to produce everything themselves and complete all the recording away from the studio environment.

The additional EP, A Product Of The Ego Drain, is a nice extra for people picking up the album at this issue. The demos and unreleased tracks are of a high standard and compliment the main album perfectly. The “new” tracks, a cover of Gary Newman’s ‘Cars’ and a new single version of ‘Save It For Someone Who Cares’ are what make the bonus CD that little bit special. Both are excellent examples of what the band do best, melody, vocal harmony and accomplished instrumentation.

The EP may not be enough to make someone buy a second copy of the album but it is icing on the cake for anyone who doesn’t own this excellent album and is picking it up for the first time.

9/10

by Dorian Rogers, Oct 2009

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