Iceland maybe known for Bjork and Sigur Ros but for me Leaves are up there as their countries best music exports. Their last long player release was back in 2009, so ‘See You In The Afterglow‘ was a welcome surprise for me this week. They were tipped for big things previously and often compared to many of their contemporaries. After hearing this, maybe they’ll get that break they deserve with the eleven tracks on their fourth album.
Starting off with the hard punchy ‘The Sensualist‘ with vocals by Arnar Guðjónsson, who does a great impersonation of Ian McNabb. It bounces along with a great chorus line too. Whilst ‘Parade‘ is a slightly more melodic track that is nurtured on a steady drum beat throughout. This is such a radio friendly song flavoured with great harmonies for added measure. In stark contrast we hear next ‘Perfect Weather‘ a majestic ballad with apt lyrics “we share these melodies“. It’s wrapped around an orchestral sound giving it that big sound feel to it. Completing this slowed down period of music is ‘Animals‘ that relies on a lead guitar reminiscent of those early 60’s tunes, every single note so pristine.
Whoever worked out the track running order certainly knows their stuff as ‘Love Sick‘ with it’s do-wop intro vocals brings the music back up to speed. The honky tonky piano sound and hand clap beat soon have you moving to it. Another power ballad, ‘Wilderness Song‘ now takes centre stage, you can sense the band seem to believe in themselves at long last. Whilst ‘White Noise‘ reminds us they’re a guitar fuelled band with lots of energy to burn. Initially it’s guitar based which makes way for a luscious piano that is laced over the hush tones of ‘Wake Me Up‘. The lyrics to it certainly ring true “..oh happiness when you greet me with a smile“.
‘Sleepy Waters‘ is another song rich with laid back guitar sounds echoing across your speakers. You could easily believe this song is geared for the American country market. Rocking out next is ‘Ocean‘ yet again another track you should be hearing over the airwaves. The title track ‘Afterglow’ concludes the album, a song that’s a cacophony of sound that grows in stature as it gradually winds up to its pinnacle. Maybe the longer time between albums has benefited Leaves, for this is certainly for me their best work to date. They’ve loaded the bases with a bounty of delights, let’s see if the public can harvest them. 9/10 defrosting perfectly.