I only discovered The Leisure Society on Saturday - two days ago. A chance mention of them in a monthly music magazine led me to looking them up on the wonderful Spotify. Within minutes of listening to this album for the first time I had decided it was to be firmly entrenched in my favourite top-ten albums of all time.
It's difficult to describe the sound of The Leisure Society, but it's certainly more West Coast than West Midlands. I can hear Beach Boys, I can hear Big Star, I can hear Buffalo Springfield, and maybe a little Crosby Stills & Nash, but I'm being unfair...they sound exactly like the Leisure Society.
This CD comes with a bonus CD of b-sides and demos. Standouts are the wonderful single version of "Save It For Someone..." and their unique version of "Cars".
The melodies are as beautiful as the lyrics are wonderful. This truly is a revelation.
on 17 September 2009
You may have missed the first "homemade" release of Sleeper, don't miss this excellent reinvention with the addition of a glorious bonus album containing the brilliant reworking of the single "Save it For Someone Who Cares" and some other songs that have become favourites live....like Gary Numan's "Cars"!!
The original album still gives pleasure every time I hear it, glorious tunes and wonderful arrangements. BEWARE you will fall in love with these songs!! And let's hope this time that the Ivor Novello nominated "Last of the Melting Snow" will storm the Christmas charts 2009.
Brainchild of singer/songwriter and guitarist Neil Hemming
and multi-instrumentasist Christian Hardy, The Leisure Society
would appear to have been compared with more than a handful of
American bands who share a common thread in incorporating
complex vocal harmonies in their compositions.
Just like a Cox's Orange Pippin, however, I cannot but
help feel that this fine ensemble is English to the core.
The combined release of new collection 'The Sleeper' with
EP 'A Product Of The Ego Drain' is cause for celebration.
This collection of 19 songs (including a curiously
addictive cover of Gary Numan's 'Cars') is a finely
constructed tapestry of musical treasures.
'The Last Of The Melting Snow', with its limpid string
arrangement and haunting pedal-steel guitar, is easily
one of the lovliest songs I have heard this year.
'The Darkest Place I Know' is a jewelled musical-box
of a composition. Childhood fears and grown-up hopes.
Delightfully ambiguous and utterly magical.
The six minutes of 'A Matter Of Time', a masterly piece of
writing, passes in the blink of an eye. The lyrically erudite
narrative shows considerable insight into love and loss.
The upbeat ending is nicely at odds with its laconic theme.
'Love's Enormous Wings' is just plain charming.
From the EP, the single version of 'Save It For Someone
Who Cares' is a cracking tune. Timelessly uplifting.
The little instrumental 'The Wayfarer'
is another wistful and endearing highlight.
Mr Numan could not have envisaged such a whimsically
wayward interpretation of his 1979 No 1 hit 'Cars' !
The string-saturated arrangement is a complete hoot!
A richly rewarding debut.
on 23 January 2013
why isn't this more well known? I had never heard of the Leisure Society, but then After watching Tyrannosaur (good film, if a little bleak), I wanted to know who was responsible for the final track on the film, it was "we were wasted" by the Leisure Society. So I checked out a couple more songs on the web and realised that some sounded familiar, probably due to listening to radio 6. So, I bought the album based on a few songs and wasn't dissapointed, it is a very accomplished album. The song writing is of a high standard and so is the musicianship. It is hard to pigeon hole certain bands, but I don't think the comparisons with the likes of the Divine Comedy or even Beatles is too far fetched. It is kind of indie folk as a few people have mentioned here. Is it worth getting this version over just the main album? well probably, the version of Gary Numans Cars really should be heard, it's always great when an artist covers a well known song with their own interpretation that in someway sounds better than the original. I'd give this album 4 and half stars if I could, but it's not an option, so I'll go with 4.
on 14 November 2014
Works on a variety of levels imagine a more pop orientated Bellowhead merging with a mellower sounding Decemberists and you are almost there add a dash of whimsical quirkiness and bang you've hit it.Prone to sing alog with it in the car,which makes me look aprat particularly when I'm parked in Tescos.
on 8 August 2013
bought this on a whim for their cover of Cars which i had seen on youtube- i loved the whole album , really great for a nice chilled evening- if you like folky tunes you will like the leisure society.
I first came across Leisure Society when I saw them in support of Laura Marling on her Cathedrals tour. They were good, and as it turns out my girlfriend owns both of their albums I had the opportunity to listen to them on record. In concert they played a very stripped back set, so I was a little surprised at the richer production found here, but it was a good move as this is a highly enjoyable album. It's kind of an indefinable sound - gentle indie folk rock perhaps? Beautifully crafted songs (and I do mean crafted - it's obvious a huge amount of effort and thought has gone into every little detail) in which a rich production supports light, floating vocals. It's a very layered, thoughtful record full of some great hooks couped with a rich, textured feel.
This is a two disc set, the second disc `Product of the ego drain' contains B sides and demos. It's an excellent addition to the set, especially the excellent rendition of Gary Numan's classic `Cars'. 4 stars all round.
on 9 January 2010
I am writing this after only having listened to the album twice, but it is that good. I only heard 'The Last of the Melting Snow' on the radio about a week ago, and on the strength of that ordered the album. The album does sound very much like an English Fleet Foxes. Absolutely no bad thing. Quite folky, but the instant impression for me was a very sixties sound, dominated by harmonies, woodwind and strings. There is the obviously quoted Beach Boys influence, but from their more whimsical moments (in terms of music, not lyrics in Leisure Society's case). More 'Friends' than 'Pet Sounds'. I can only compare otherwise to what I am familiar with, but I hear similarities to Simon and Garfunkel and a bit of the Mamas and Papas. The lyrics can be adult, serious, observational, almost political, but some are pure romantic pop, such as the achingly gorgeous 'A Matter of Time'. The vocal harmonies are quite gentle, and Nick Hemming's voice is generally laid-back, sounding to me at times likes David Gates at his mellow best. Anyone who likes any of the above artists or similar really needs to check this album out. In the light of all the dross currently adored by the great British public, it's great to find a British band making quality music like this.
on 5 June 2015
I bought this for the B-sides as I'm a greedy hungry ghost for The Leisure Society's music. I love the way the poetic lyrics seep into the soul and reflect the depths and diversity of being this entity we call human. Nick Hemming's sublime story telling draws you in, makes you think, makes you feel, makes you ponder and lets you dream again. Very talented band of musicians. So glad they gave up their day jobs to share what was buried within.
on 7 October 2009
Following a 'soft' release earlier this year, this appropriately-titled album is now given a relaunch incorporating a bonus EP of 'Demos and 'B'-sides' entitled "A Product Of The Ego Drain". An unexpected reward for stragglers and latecomers.
Comparisons with current Americana faves such as Fleet Foxes are unavoidable - just listen to the title track - but the band also recall such quintessentially English songsmiths as the late Clifford T. Ward, particularly on tracks like "The Last Of The Melting Snow", "We Were Wasted" and "Love's Enormous Wings".
"Melting Snow" is without question the standout track here, although in its aching wistfulness "A Short Weekend Begins With Longing" runs it close.
Of the bonus cuts, a heavily syncopated and slowed-down acoustic version of Gary Numan's "Cars" is the big surprise, and a delight, whilst "Pancake Day" reveals an irreverent sense of humour not otherwise evident from the album itself. Many of these bonus tracks are themselves comfortably superior to most of what passes for chart music these days, prompting the nagging concern that the global commercial acceptance that this fine record deserves might still prove elusive.
Four and a half stars.