Fabulous album, very impressive body of work with unbelievable harmonies twisting up and down inside the music. Very glad I bought it, after seeing the band play at the Beltane Camp and Gathering in Theddlethorpe this year and being very impressed by their live performance, this, studio work is even better!!
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It's been quite some time since Leafblade released their debut album (not counting the compilation 'To The Moonlight') - seven years in fact - which has built up some heavy anticipation for this, their sophomore effort. Casual fans will no doubt be alerted to the fact that Danny Cavanagh and Daniel Cardoso of Anathema fame appear on this CD. However, this is Sean Jude's baby and, along with Kevin Murphy (both ex-Valle Crusis), they are the true heart of this band. That's not to diminish the two Daniels in any way; their playing is subtle and appropriate and, along with the music itself, a thing of beauty.
I've had the pleasure of seeing Leafblade on a few occasions now (always as the duo of Sean and Kevin), and it was exciting to hear a couple of songs I'm used to hearing stripped-back live given the full band treatment. The essence of each song is the same - bolstered by Sean's poetic view to lyricism - but dynamically they are different creatures. Daniel Cavanagh's production skills really are taking shape, and he has become quite adept at allowing the music to breathe; the essential ebbs and flows. One thing that should be noted, since the release of 'Beyond, Beyond' back in 2006, is how the songs have developed from mostly, admittedly haunting, Celtic-folk to a combination of that style blended with rock bombast and dynamism. Some may see this as a return to the roots of Valle Crusis, but the tone and feel is far less foreboding, and far more uplifting than that. While billed as a progressive album, it may be tempting to mistake that for aping the classics of the seventies. And, while this does share the same love of vocal harmonies, swelling guitar melodies, and a sense that there is a greater thematic link (bordering on concept), this is progressive in the sense that it is quietly pushing modern song-writing into otherwise undiscovered waters. K-Scope too should be applauded for continuing to support forward-thinking musicians, striving to challenge listeners' perceptions; breaking down barriers between disparate musical genres. It's a truly exciting time to be a music fan, and Leafblade have joined the very best bands (Anathema, North Atlantic Oscillation, Ulver et al) in giving us music that will transcend age; becoming timeless.
(Originally posted on 'Perception of Sound: http://perceptionofsound.blogspot.com/2013/05/leafblade-kiss-of-spirit-and-flesh.html)
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I bought this on the strength of the Anathema connection with Daniel Cavanagh on guitar. I must say that musically this is a very strong effort with some great power chords complimenting the folk-like feel generally of the cd. I would not go as far as describing it as folk-prog but the temptation is there. My only beef with this record are the lyrics. Call them gothic, old-English, traditional they all add up to meaning very little to me but I dare say they will be profound to others. 'Cup sweet petals of sweetest rose', you get the general idea. For me, I will not let this detract from the music which is worth far more. Worth a punt, especially for the track Portrait, from which the aforementioned lyric came from!