Sunday, November 22, 2009

Counting 50Leaves

These guys were my indie-pop surprise last night, and as I discovered them right before I went to sleep, I listened to them as I drifted off, and it was amazing. It took just four songs, all that there was to their demo EP, to show me that these guys have what it takes to be as big as Oasis.
Composed of Rob (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Stu (vocals and guitar), Mike (keyboards and guitar), Lee (bass), and Ady (drums and percussion), 50Leaves hails from Manchester, England, U.K., and is here to treat us to amazing alternative rhythms laced with indie-pop vocals and lyrics with deep messages. So no more stalling, let's get to it. 
The first song I listen to has apparently garnered some attention, and after listening to it, all I'm wondering is why it hasn't garnered A LOT of attention. "Wide Open" starts with a cool acoustic note progression from Rob, and as the others come in, Rob's vocals have already knocked this song up a couple of notches. Ady's drumming is easy, cool, and Lee's bass is almost non-existent at some places, but during the chorus you can hear it locked tightly with Ady's kit. Stu's guitar riffing is only outshined by his great backup vocals for Rob, and here, Mike adopts a piano sound over that of a keyboard, and I love this song. I'm listening to it for the eighth time already. As we reach the interlude, the sound is like nothing I've ever heard before; ambient, encompassing, easy, but powerful; this track is a five-star song easy. Love it. 
Track two is "Run from the Sun," and though it begins like the first with an acoustic string set, it quickly moves away from sounding like "Wide Open" as Ady's drumming has picked up noticeably, and Lee's bass is more out in the open here. Mike's keys have a more electric sound to them, and the combination of Rob's and Stu's vocals sound incredible, as Stu lets loose with small note progressions that remind me of the Pixies. I can't even begin to stress what pop ambience this song exudes, and for anyone looking for something strong to listen to, but not too overpowering, this is your song. Definitely not a filler track. 
Track three's "May You Never" is a tribute to painter John Martin, and makes use of Ady's unique drumming style, coupling it with Rob's acoustic guitar, and his sultry vocals. This is perhaps Lee's greatest moment, as his bass is front and center during the verses, and the notes are strong and tight, carrying the song anywhere it wants to go. Mike's keys are scaled back here a little, and perhaps he's chosen on this one to play guitar alongside Stu, who is providing incredible vocals of his own behind Rob. It certainly seems to me like a two-guitar song, and I love it. And the riff about two-thirds of the way through is brilliant. Here, Mike has moved back to melodic keys, and beside Stu's guitar notes, builds a bridge that is solid and full of melody. 
The last track I listen to is "Man on Fire." This track seems like the perfect way to end the EP, as it is melodic and continues 50Leaves' sense of musicality, but is easy and soft enough to leave you wanting more; looking for more; waiting for more. I love what happens right after the second verse, where the song starts building into a frenzy of melody set down by Rob's acoustic guitar, Mike's keys and Stu's guitars, and capped off by Lee's bass lines and Ady's cymbals. A solid finish to a great EP. If I were a record label and heard this EP, I'd get these guys into a studio so fast it wouldn't be funny. Amazing.

Sounds Like: Oasis, Live, Blur, Pixies

Key Tracks from demo EP: "Wide Open," "Man on Fire," "Run from the Sun," "May You Never"

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