Alone Aboard The Ark

The Leisure Society

Full Time Hobby Records, 2013

http://leisure-society.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/26/2013

I have to imagine over in the UK The Leisure Society is as revered as Fleet Foxes is here in the States. Though they've only been around since 2009, they've made quick work with a Best Song nomination for their first single, and it would be no surprise if this third album Alone Aboard The Ark doesn't receive similar praise. Multi-instrumentalist Nick Hemming and Christian Hardy make up the core of the band. The Leisure Society pulls off a very stylish version of orchestral pop mixed with folk-rock and an influx of hooks and synth. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Possessing an overall nostalgic feeling, the band uses keys, horns, flutes, tambourines, and harmonicas to create a flawless, creative version of indie rock. Nick Hemming's unassuming voice is exactly the right pitch for the music, and his lyrics are always thought out and thought provoking. The album leads off with "Another Sunday Psalm," a jangly indie rock tune with a warm melody that brings to mind Belle & Sebastian. Things slow down later on with "The Sober Scent Of Paper," a beautifully hushed tune somewhat motivated by Sylvia Plath's death. A few different outfits come to mind when listening to this: the aforementioned Belle & Sebastian, The Mountain Goats, and on "Tearing Down The Arches," The Leisure Society rocks in a Supergrass way, resulting in one of the louder moments on the album.

The first single on the album, "Fight For Everyone," seemed like an obvious choice with upbeat guitar work, lively horns, and cute synth play. It has such a modern day indie rock feel it could easily propel the band to fame. They consistently make great transitions in tone and style all over this. "All I Have Seen" at the halfway point moves at a much slower pace, with an almost oldies feel that makes you want to slow dance. With much use of vintage instruments, there is an overall retro feeling running through many of the tunes. The track "A Softer Voice Takes Longer Hearing" is the best example of this. "We Go Together" is another throwback moment with restrained strings and horns that allude to jazz. The only time they take a somewhat expected turn is when their roots shine through with the Brit-pop "One Man And His Fug," which is reminiscent of Oasis on Prozac.

An extremely sophisticated album, there are countless references to literary figures and religion, and Nick Hemming certainly knows his way around a metaphor. The production here is ultra polished, highlighting all the instruments well. This one is the total package, album of the year material.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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