Usually, the fine music peddled by Exploding in Sounds swerves between pot-infused rock (Pile), post-hardcore (Two Inch Astronaut) and poetry-fuelled rock & ravings (Kal Marks). The closest you get to folk is Palehound. Leapling manages to infiltrate EiS HQ with the pleasing sounds of 70s folk pop, with fine tuning courtesy of chamber pop.
That’s an impressive list of label mates and all, but what is Suspended Animation sound like? The sophomore album by Leapling displays music that carves a foundation on the honesty of folk and adorns it intensely with electric guitar solos, strings, and wistful instrumental passages.
We previously mentioned the strumming beauty of ‘Hey Sister’, a track that organically shapeshifts into a blistering cool guitar solo without losing its cool as ice atmosphere. There’s some heavy love for the psychedelia of the seventies in breezy tracks like ‘Alabaster Snow’, further explored in the ‘Do you want to know a secret?’ stylings of ‘Why can’t you open up your door?’. I listened to ‘Good Morning (it’s okay)’ not only on the base that is a very enjoyable romp, but I could swear there was a sitar there, noodling idly to its behest.
But it’s not all about chamber pop’s green pastures; there are some mighty windy hills to climb. ‘You lemme know’ takes its tempo from krautrock, mixing it as well as Mazes did on their Ores and Minerals stage. ‘One hit wonder’ is two malt shop stores away from being a 50s revival track: simple, curt, and infectious.
I probably keep haranguing with the “chamber pop” tag for Suspended Animation, only because it fits as well as a paisley shirt fits James May. Album closer ‘Time keeps tickin’ ‘ flies into the stratosphere with its gorgeous arrangements and its dynamic use of sparse drumming. The artful ‘Suspended Animation’ sways longingly, with that effective bassline that intertwines with the strings to create a peaceful yet desperate atmosphere.
The news lately has been thoroughly horrible and they are too many (and too much) to mention again. An album like Suspended Animation is a good mitigator because for its 40 minutes, it manages to put the worst into the background. It won’t remove the negativity in the world, but for that brief space of time, the colours shine like they haven’t shined in a while.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López