Spirit Level – Randolph’s Leap (Fika Recordings)
No matter how good the solo shows and the solo recordings are I’ve always felt that Randolph’s Leap songs are heard to best effect in the context of the full eight-piece band.
Yet, for understandable reasons, the number of full band recordings is quite limited with the ‘Real Anymore’ EP and the rather more muted ‘Cowardly Deeds’ the only complete records dedicated to the full band. Yet neither quite managed to capture the exuberance of the full band in flight.
‘Spirit Level’ is the latest attempt to do so and from the opening “La-la-la-la-la-la’s” of the first few bars of second single ‘Moment Passed’ it nails it.
Along with last year’s insistent ‘Up In Smoke’, ‘Moment Passed’ sets out the template for the terrific album that follows.
In terms of upbeat pop, even the singles are probably surpassed by the joyous 3 minutes of long-term live favourite ‘BMH’ whilst both ‘Serious’ and ‘Lungs’ mine a similar vein. ‘Lungs’, originally recorded solo by Adam for the ‘Worryingly OK’ album, is given a full band makeover here with particularly splendid results.
The more thoughtful side of the Leap, so prominent on recent records, is not forgotten, most notably on ‘Ghost’. Meanwhile the likes of ‘Punchbag’ and the country-ish ‘Helluva Summer’ show that the Leap can be more ambitious, with the brass and violin adding the sort of textures and details that can sometimes be lost in the live rush.
The end result is a record that both harnesses the talents of the full band and delivers the exhilarating pop album they’ve always been capable of. A strong contender for pop album of the year.
‘Spirit Level’ is out now from Fika Recordings https://shop.fikarecordings.com/album/spirit-level
This review was originally published on is this music?