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Old 08-12-2009, 05:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Default Leandra - Metamorphine

Leandra - Metamorphine

There's a disquieting air to Leandra's album. If you know her previous work as 'erotic keyboard predator' for Jesus On Extasy, then you might be expecting high camp majesty. Instead this is a quieter, more frightening experience.

"Noisy Awareness" is piano and sonic ambience, mixed with Leandra's plaintive vocal. It's sparse, but effective. It's as if you were exploring a neglected mental asylum – I know what are the chances – and you happened upon the one remaining inmate, who just happens to be good at playing piano. Maybe you watch for a while, for in darkness there is beauty, but what will happen if she turns to face you? The lush keyboard-filled "Lie To Me" proves to be a more enticing proposition. The chorus is intoxicating as Leandra invites the listener to: 'Meet me on the winter side. My eyes shall burn...' You might not know where Leandra wants to take you – will she offer pleasure or pain? Madness or sanity? – but you are tempted to take her hand and find out. The trip-hop beats clatter in the background, before heavier drums and throbbing guitars pound out a climax. It's great to hear a song that builds, without bludgeoning the listener into submission. "The Art of Dreaming" calls to mind the wide-eyed 'madness' of Emilie Autumn. The male vocals add variety. Another human voice can often be a comfort, at times likes this. The layered instrumentation provides a tide that you know will lead you into danger, but what excitement lies in the shallows? There are subtle guitars that add solidity to the song.

There are trip hop beats again and strange 'whooshing' noises for "Coloured". The fractured singing reminds me of Suzanne Vega, by way of Regina Spektor. Four minutes in, the drum machine decides its not having enough attention and embarks on a solo. "Naked Eyes" has the doom-filled atmosphere and DJ scratchings of Portishead. Leandra's vocals are colder than Beth Gibbons. "Angeldaemon" is built using piano and Leandra's vocals. While the piano trills are technically impressive, they alienate this listener. Leandra's vocal is placed under a pile of effects, making the song sound like a remix. The drums sound random. Occasionally some chanting monks wander in. The effect is troubling. This might have been the intention. "Song of Venus (Danny's Song)" features discordant piano. It is the sound of Bedlam. If Tim Burton fancies giving Danny Elfman a break, he could hire Leandra instead. Calling track nine "Lullaby" is blatant false advertising, but the pacing-like-caged-tigers guitars make a good counterpoint to the spooky piano arpeggios.

"Pi" is more useful than its mathematical namesake, on the other hand 3.14159265 has never scared me much as when this song unexpectedly explodes four minutes in. For the first time I'm reminded of Courtney Love at her 6th form piano recital. "Inverted Mirrors of Decay" has the theatrical trimmings of Dresdon Dolls. If you are a fan of that band you won't be put off by the seemingly random bursts of piano.

There is much to admire about this release. Leandra is a distinctive talent. While there are others working in a similar field, such as Tori Amos, Portishead and Regina Spektor, there is always room for one more lunatic at the asylum.

With ‘Metamorphine’ LEANDRA presents a very good solo debut mostly impressing by its great piano play. She’s not limited to one particular style and integrates influences of Trip Hop, Classic & Rock into the sound and combines it with her very convertible voice.


8/10 Points



Tracklist:
01. Noisy Awareness - 04:33
02. Lie To Me - 05:49
03. The Art of Dreaming (feat. Sven Friedrich) - 05:11
04. Coloured - 06:43
05. Naked Eyes - 04:31
06. Angeldaemon - 03:53
07. Tyberi Folla - 03:48
08. Son of Venus (Danny's Song) - 04:23
09. Lullaby - 05:08
10. Pi - 05:21
11. Inverted Mirrors of Decay - 05:35

Members:
Leandra - Production, Arrangements, Piano, Vocals
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