Kiran Leonard - Grapefruit

by Steve Reynolds Rating:9 Release Date:2016-03-25

Kiran Leonard is, in musical terms, only just out of nappies at the slender age of 20. However, on his second album, Grapefruit, he’s unleashed a rich palette of different styles to make an uncompromising and breathless eight tracks in total.

It all begins with the stunted ‘Secret Police’, a somber piano accompanied by some ethereal strings leading into an uplifting sea of brash percussion. Leonard has a voice reminiscent of Fyfe Dangerfield of Guillemots, who were also equipped with the passion and determination to create idiosyncratic songs and push avant garde indie into our ears.

Maybe it could be classed as self-indulgent on Leonard’s part, with the 16-minute-plus ‘Pink Fruit’ but what separates him from his peers is his boldness to go where the alternative guitar hasn’t gone to before. After an opening salvo of guitar interplay and Leonard’s sound offs, there is a middling piece, which seems to be like the band had thought the recording had stopped, as there is a scratchy lo fi hiss of pipes, drums and chatter.  This is all very welcoming before the storm rises again, albeit subtlety rolling slowly back into play.  It’s the kind of craziness that The Cardiacs used to do so effortlessly back in their peak.  Leonard then starts to rage vocally and his ragged uncouth delivery becomes much more cultured dragging in the likes of Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley.

‘Ondor Gongor’ has a tall order in following the monolith of its predecessor but once again it comes with a more direct bullish dark experimental indie jazz feel to it.

‘Caiaphas In Fetters’ is the melancholy in the Grapefruit pie.  A thinly picked guitar, a host or soaring cellos and violins adds even more fuel to the fire that Leonard’s approach are way beyond his youthful years.  ‘Don’t make friends’ is a rattling good hoot.  A mix of driving indie guitar, off piste percussion and punchy riffs it seems like a song hacked together from the cutting room floor in the wrong order, but try not to look at it that way as it totally works – 100%!!  Leonard is very wordy such is the less than truncated lengths of most of his songs and his nutjob lyrics really are central to the ballsy madness of ‘Exeter Services’.

Closer ‘Fireplace’ is just what you would expect from Leonard.  His whole portfolio is melded together here: tempestuous, gnarly, ragged, loose, uncompromising, irregular and prog.

This guy is uber talented and at his age there is so much more to come from him and proof that you can win things with youth.  A bright light for the future.

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