The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-12
The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures
The Leisure Society - Arrivals & Departures

Listening to Arrivals & Departures, the fifth and a double album from The Leisure Society, the first one-word description that comes to mind is ‘pastoral’. That is if you only pay attention to the music. So it is no wonder that one point in the band’s career they were approached by a certain Ray Davies to collaborate on music together, and that another certain, Brian Eno has a hand in this album.

But then take into consideration that Nick Hemming, The Leisure Society’s main man has been at some point a member of The Telescopes (not so pastoral, I guess), has composed music for films (“A Room For Romeo Brass” and “Dead Man’s Shoes”), and that at some point the band covered the Hans Christian Andersen’s children’s classic “Inchworm”.

All sounding a bit contradictory it seems, but it fits perfectly into what The Leisure society are doing on Arrivals & Departures. Hemming and the band are combining some relatively gentle musical themes (the brilliant baroque pop orchestration of “Overheard”) and acoustic instrumentation that spurns into Love’s “Forever Changes”-like horn bursts (“Let Me Bring You Down”), and bursts of musical energy elsewhere on the album (say “Don’t Want To Do It Again” or "Beat Of A Drum") with some interesting, dark-toned lyrical observations:

“God has taken a vacation
The birds are singing out of key
There are tales of ordinary sorrow
As the sun dissolves into the sea

When an eye for an eye is all we try
What hope is there to be?”
(“God Has Taken A Vacation”)

What we get is a lush, melodic album with some dark overtones that blend easily with the music. So maybe that one-word description could be turned into a two-word one: ‘dark pastoral”.

With their previous efforts, particularly the two previous albums The Leisure Society was able to garner some great critical appraisal, but not truly getting much in popularity stakes, even though they were compared to the likes of Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes. actually, Gareth Jones who mixed the album worked for Grizzly Bear, among others. Based on the evidence of Arrivals & Departures, The Leisure Society deserve both - the critical praise and public acceptance. I hope they get it.


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