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Adam Leonard - Nature Recordings

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 14 / 9 / 2012

Adam Leonard - Nature Recordings
Label: North Western Recordings
Format: CDS


Atmospheric and unique blend of folk, psychedelia and electronica on second album from English singer-songwriter, Adam Leonard

Adam Leonard’s output since his debut album (2003’s 'How Music Sounds') has been prolific. Releasing various mini-albums and EPs on a variety of small labels, he has continually developed his unique blend of folk, psychedelia and electronica. His second album, 'Nature Recordings', began life on vinyl but quickly sold out. He has since repackaged the album on CD, and released it in a limited edition of 300. Opening track 'The Man Who Invented Himself' opens with a powerful and emphatic keyboard line over which Leonard’s superb vocals sit clearly and precisely. Lyrically, the track is intelligent and witty, and while the backing track may sound simplistic, it works well to convey the mood of the piece. The electric guitar opening of #Lilian, I Love You# sets the listener in more comfortable territory. This is more of a straightforward rocker, gently reminiscent of Andy Partridge or perhaps Ray Davies. Leonard’s vocals are charmingly straightforward and the lyric, which speaks of breakfast tea and sisters quoting from the bible, is as English as Morris Dancing or village cricket. The finger-picking introduction to 'Dawn Rain/Grissom Aloft' is reminiscent of Donovan’s 'Tangerine Puppet' but changes tack around the two minute mark. and moves the piece into a sublime piece of soft, dreamy acoustic bliss. That the second half of this track can sound so good and yet be so uncomplicated is testament to Leonard’s skills as a composer and arranger. 'The Archaeologist' is a harmonium-led contemporary folk song, and again it is Leonard’s fine vocal and witty lyrics which lift the song to something marvellous. As with so much else on the album, the simplicity of the track is simply misdirection as Leonard manages to craft a masterpiece out of four or five chords. Again, the lyrics occupy that uniquely English space reserved for the likes of Syd Barrett or Robyn Hitchcock. The album closes with the four-piece suite 'The Eighth Tower'. Musically recalling the highlights of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, it is an epic exercise in skill and restraint. That I have been utterly charmed by this album should be clear to anyone. It is a beguilingly attractive collection of songs and instrumentals of the highest quality. Refusing to be pigeonholed by genre, Adam Leonard has crafted a melodic and enchanting set which, while cherishing and celebrating its inspirations, shines brightly in its own right by virtue of its having been boldly crafted by a truly unique talent.

Track Listing:-
1 The Man Who Invented Himself
2 Lillian, I Love You
3 Dawn Rain ; Grissom Aloft
4 The Archaeologist
5 The Eighth Tower Part I
6 The Eighth Tower Part II
7 The Eighth Tower Part III
8 The Eighth Tower Part IV

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