Perhaps aiming for a more accessible or maybe even profitable/commercial angle, The Leisure Society lose the spirit of their music along the way.
Full Time Hobby, 2013
4.0 / 10
The Leisure Society have been a pop icon darling (Brian Eno, Ray Davies) since their earliest years. Listening to their earlier work, it’s easy to see why. This is a supremely talented group of musicians, brimming with creativity and the ability to deliver beautiful, unique compositions. The songs have lovely, endearing lyrics and vocals from Nick Hemming, meshing well with the swirling orchestrations full of emotion, life and versatility. This is a not band to be dismissed, but you wouldn’t know it from their latest release, Alone Aboard the Ark, that was recorded at Davies’ own Konk Studios. It’s almost like the band is trying to jump into the boring mix of alt/indie sounds The Lumineers have capitalized on recently, and the Decemberists and Shins have fallen into in their more recent years. That’s unfortunate, truly. Early Decemberists and Shins have their slight glimmers of life and hope. However, The Lumineers have been beaten into the heads of every American so savagely that they are selling records via subliminal programming, but where’s that initial sparkle and the significance? It seems The Leisure Society, in perhaps aiming for a more accessible or maybe even profitable/commercial angle, have lost some of the special parts of themselves as well.
Alone Aboard the Ark is not a terrible album and has it’s moments. The album opens up with “Another Sunday Psalm” and it’s a pretty mellow and appealing song. Hemming and his band can make really pretty music; that’s indisputable. However, there are no real moments of significance on the album. “Fight for Everyone” has a peppier beat and substance that can make you sit up slightly from your slumped in office chair and take note, but other than that, there’s only a few other songs on the album that carry any other weight. It took five separate listens to find more than three other notable tracks: it’s easy to gloss over the rest and frankly they’re boring. If you know what this band is really capable of you’d be disappointed as well.
However, the arrangements are not bad. The album is completely listenable from front to back, and if Target played it over it’s speakers (which would never happen because of Target’s corporate policy not to do so), I’m sure that all the housewives and suburbanites would flock to purchase the album because it goes down so easy and everyone loves vanilla. But it’s not The Leisure Society delivering the dynamics they are capable of. I hope they wake from their slumber for the next album.