The Black Leaves

The Spirit of Life

Written by: BV on 27/11/2012 10:02:11

The Black Leaves is one of those bands, where I had no clue of what I was getting into when I first signed up to review their album. I guess I went into it with an expectation of some “plain ol’ folk”. That’s not what I got, but naturally I think that’s a good thing. What I actually got to listen to, was more of a psychedelic folk-rock blend where a didgeridoo (?!) was added to the mix. I must say they caught me off guard – especially with the didgeridoo, but it turned out to be an incredibly delightful listening experience for me. It was exciting, soothing and somewhat jazzy at some points.

The track “A Thousand Suns” is a particular favorite of mine, due to the obvious psychedelic influence and the intriguing lyrics. I, oddly enough, found it to quite reminiscent of a Ten Years After song called “As the Sun Still Burns Away” – not necessarily in form or songwriting in particular, but more in the mood it sets. This is actually a constant vibe I get throughout the album. The Black Leaves don’t necessarily rip anyone off, but they do tend to aim for similar soundscapes and moods as a lot of 60’s and 70’s psychedelic/folk/rock bands. Personally I find that quite intriguing and kind of cool, but that’s in most part due to my personal likings I guess.

Musically there isn’t really anything new about The Black Leaves, and even though they tend to mix up the songwriting by adding didgeridoo’s, saxophones and what not, I do find the album to be a bit uninteresting at points. A perfect example of quality musicianship coupled with relatively uninteresting songwriting is the track called “In a Secret World”, where the saxophone is somewhat of a focus point. And even though they mix up the genres by adding a kind of jazzy feel to the song, I can’t help but wonder if it was made with the specific purpose to be different, or if they actually just thought it was a nice track. Either way, I feel it to be a bit misplaced as well somewhat uninteresting.

In short, I have taken quite a liking to The Black Leaves and their album “The Spirit of Life”, and despite some stylistic detours along the way, I think they’ve got a good thing going. I hope they can keep this up on their next album.

Download: The Spirit of Life, A Thousand Suns, The End of it All
For The Fans Of: Ten Years After, 60’s folk rock in general

Release Date 09.10.2012

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