24 Jul 2014

Adam Leonard "Octopus 1"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

Adam Leonard may not be a name that a lot of you are familiar with (although I've championed him in the past when I was lucky enough to discover this astonishing album, currently downloadable for free here). Despite this lamentable semi-obscurity, Adam has built up a sizeable stockpile of rarities and unreleased material that he's now proposing to release in the eight part "Octopus" series (see what he did there?), the first volume of which is out on the 8th of the 8th (oh, stop it).

An eight volume rarities collection may sound proportionately a bit out of kilter for an artist with a back catalogue the size of Adam's so I will readily admit that I went into this with a combination of curiosity and bewilderment (both natural states of mine), not really knowing what to expect. This is perhaps a good approach to take to Adam's music, as he has a severe case of musical schizophrenia that sees him trying his hand at all sorts of things here and succeeding admirably with all of them here. I'm not even needing to use that old "interesting" euphemism card that I had tucked up my sleeve.

Opener "Lord's Station" sounds like he's donned mad scientist garb and slipped into the local church at night to soundtrack a giallo after spending the day listening to New Order. There's also quality lo-fi acoustic singer songwriter fragments committed to tape seemingly spontaneously ("UFO Over Bidston", the Beatles "Lovely Rita"), immaculate eighties style synth pop ala John Foxx ("Film Noir") and everywhere a sense of effortless songcraft encapsulated perfectly by the Syd Barrett by way of Robyn Hitchcock closer "I'm Gonna Sleep With Myself (Tonight)" - mad as a bag of hammers and twice as lovely.

If Volumes two through eight can match this, your ears are going to get very, very fat.

Oh, and did I mention that these monthly releases will all be available as free/name your own price downloads? Mad.

Available here 8/8/14.

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