Leonard: An Implied Desire
By Jennifer Scott
When I left NZM, Leonard's first EP with its infectious catchy pop songs was one CD I made sure to take with me. Now comes the Auckland band's debut album 'An Implied Desire'. At first I was unconvinced the songs had staying power but three listens in and most have won me over. Leonard's knack for catchy choruses and strong melodies driven by James Clark's vocals results in a clean sound that sometimes falls into shambolic Weezer territory (Think It Over) and is occasionally Oasis-esque (Doppler's Shift). Recorded at York Street Studios and produced by Andrew Buckton, it would benefit from the guitars being dirtier and generally a bit more grunt. Outstanding tracks for me are Paul Weller from the first EP and the gloriously upbeat Looking Up from their second EP - perhaps due to my familiarity with them. Paul Weller (demo version) retains an energy that's missing on Leonard's more recent material and this album in total. Still, in a market where guitar pop is mostly poop, this CD is streets ahead in songwriting sophistication (extended boat simile excepted - "I was waiting with my oars out", really!). Self-funded and self-released, this accomplished and polished album demonstrates that the best songs often come when you're not trying so hard.