Clever lass is Ms Leigh – singing, playing, arranging, producing some of the tracks on this disc. If the record is a success it’s largely down to her and if it is not, not many places to hide. The song titles are intriguing and far from mainstream pop’s leaning to love and dance. Mitch Dane has a large place in the assemblage. Sonia looks a tad cross on the cover, but is the music moody?
Lead cut Waste The Day is a steady tread with spacey guitars and an eerie atmosphere. Over a purposeful bass pulse and airy synths, the vocal edges towards edgy punk and overall vibe puts me in mind of The Banshees. It’s a bit like Joan Jett parachuted into 80s Manchester but melodic enough to make the song work. Next up is Sky Submarine which has a gruff sneer in the vocal, the melody is insistent and I’m not sure on the quite aggressive synth parts.
Mad Hatter has a great choppy start and post-Bowie piano stabs. The singing is treated, maybe through a harp mike ? Seems to be about a lost friendship. The song achieves a wan reflective ambience that is quite affecting. Next up is Walking In The Moonlight punching into earshot – the rhythms employed so far are very emphatic, leaving the twinkling synths dancing in the wake of the tune. Diamond In The Desert maintains the eerie mood, those heavy drums start to sound a little too solid. Acid Rain sticks with the solemn these and there are guitar runs galore. The singing though doubtless sincere is starting to sound a touch relentless.
Shelter is altogether more gentle. With steel guitar; a yearning vocal and a more reflective style which works well. NYC goes for the strident, Cars-style clipped guitars overwhelmed by a flood of fuzz. It’s a story song which I tend to like. The ghost of Joan Jett is hanging around. This is the most memorable song in the set, for this listener and it’s catchy, too. Then we get Jack Is Back. all skewed chording and a deadpan vocal. Might be about coming off substances, it sounds dark enough.
Dead Man’s Sunrise uses a clanking piano and strings intro and sounds terrific, the singing alt country and a tinge of Lucinda. A story of desolation per lifestyle choice.
Mind On The Prize taps into an automated confessional. Boomy reverb and delay underlines the torrent of statements and thoughts as Leigh preaches persistence.
A direct, electric punky set of songs, the lyrics shadowy and the sound slamming for most of the journey. Definitely a sound coming from the wrong side of the tracks.
(Many thanks to Zoe H)
Sonia Leigh’s new album ‘Mad Hatter’ is released on Friday 12th January 2018 on Willing To Fly Music.
To pre-order the album and for more information visit her official website here: http://bit.ly/2lavqo7