LEISURE SOCIETY – The Sleeper (Willkommen)

The Leisure Society have been around in various incarnations for over fifteen years, and in their early days had hot-shot film director Shane Meadows as vocalists, but they are now pretty much Nick Hemming and whoever he can get to help him out at the time. Comparisons have been made to Fleet Foxes, and on songs like the title track you can hear how they could be a British version of the band, especially in the use of unusual instruments such as ukulele, mandolin and glockenspiel. ‘The Last Of The Melting Snow’ is a pastoral ballad, and was nominated for an Ivor Novello award, while ‘A Short Weekend Begins With Longing’ has a lovely string arrangement. By the time ‘We Were Wasted’ rolls around you know pretty much how the rest of this album is going to pan out, with Christian Hardy’s lovelorn lyrics set to Hemming’s epic melodies, all played in a down-beat but affecting way. ‘Save It For Someone Who Cares’ is another dark lyric, but this time set to a jollier tune, and even taking time out at the end for a shit-kicking banjo solo. ‘The Darkest Place I Know’ is a lullaby guaranteed to give your kids nightmares, and ‘Come To Your Senses’ is a jaunty little number, and a nice change of pace. Second single ‘A Matter Of Time’ is one of the band’s more realised songs, bringing together all the elements that we have heard so far – glorious chorus, considered lyric, full production including violin from Hope Of The States Mike Siddell, and a lovely string arrangement. It also clocks in at over six minutes, so they must be confident in its ability to represent the band on the radio. The sardonic humour and darkest of dark lyrics on this album are reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon, while musically they veer towards the Belle And Sebastian style of pastoral, folky rock, making for an introspective but thoroughly enjoyable record.
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