Following the previous post about the Brooklyn band Friends, we’re following it up with a band that are just as ignorant of SEO, but equally as tidy when it comes to writing some very special pop music. So far they only seem to have been noticed by a handful of US bloggers, but now that they’re in the process of completing their début album, Plastic Soul, the first few UK blogs are now being introduced to them to begin an initial campaign for what looks to be a very exciting prospect for either side of the Atlantic.
Leisure are a trio from Boston who deliver the kind of confident, alluring lounge pop music that used to be crooned out by Pulp, or even Space. The stylish frontman, Jed Rouhana, is a particularly fascinating prospect, with some rare star qualities. He looks great, with striking features, perhaps from his Palestinian roots, and has a swaggering confidence beyond their short experience. We cannot wait to watch them live, as the clips floating around Youtube are all enjoyable. He also hosts a very smooth voice, a natural skill when carried with this level of confidence, which is all the more remarkable considering he only selected to sing quite late in their formation.
The lead single off the debut album will be Early Morning Skies. It starts with a kind of stabbed synth riff akin to the likes of Class Actress, but after 50 seconds the full band reveals itself as the sound is blown wide open. It’s as exciting as the cinema curtains broadening when the film arrives after a lengthy spell of adverts, injecting a little pace to your pulse. The voice gets a lift in pitch, as Rouhana sings “what you want to have, what you cannot have, is Me“. Once the song hits full flow it’s a beautiful plateau with a view that’s penetrated by Christopher Link’s icy guitar shards and Sam Hamad’s grooved beats and basslines. Every layer is so perfectly designed it’s difficult resisting an instant replay.
Outside These Walls sounds a little post-punk, in the same way U2 did when they started out, although it’s in need of just as much polish as those early U2 outings. It’s Alright (On The Suez Canal) introduces strings, which warms up their sound to a woolly Badly Drawn Boy level, as Rouhana becomes the storytelling crooner. It’s utterly irresistible. Follow Me continues the shimmering panache, beginning slower, but once again we find Rouhana leading you along as he speaks directly to us. It’s a very clean and tidy three and half minutes, like all good pop songs, and the anticipation builds up - a trick they’ve really mastered – making you constantly feel like they’re about to deliver the song’s break. When it finally arrives we once again get the radiant groove that seems to be their signature move.
They’ve previously toured with San Francisco’s Girls back in April and the trio has two dates lined up in New York at the end of August, one at Littlefield and the other at Pianos. They’ve bottled the kind of romanticism of Wave Machines and the foppish charm of Jarvis Cocker at his comfortably lanky best and tipped it all into a timeless form of Tupperware pop. Just watch this performance of a live show from last September and – just like our beloved Jarvis – we find it impossible to take our eyes off the excellent, charismatic Rouhana. The UK will absolutely adore this band, and particularly him. This feels like the birth of a proper star. Their manager just informed us that the début album will be out this August, and so in due course we hope to find out if this nebulous becomes something truly stellar, but the fusion is spot on with this evidence. (MB)
LEISURE – EARLY MORNING SKIES
LEISURE – IT’S ALRIGHT (ON THE SUEZ CANAL)
LEISURE – FOLLOW ME