Luke Leighfield - Fan The Flames

Published Wednesday 1st December 2010
Luke Leighfield - Fan The Flames
Luke Leighfield - Fan The Flames

RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 95980-17204
LABEL: Got Got Need GGN002

Reviewed by Ewan Jones

After a crack at Greenbelt 2010's mainstage, Luke Leighfield and band further increased their exposure and no doubt won over many new fans. 2007's 'Fan The Flames' is an ambitious but rough around the edges release with plenty of heart and signs of potential. Fronting the band on keys, Luke is joined by an array of talented musicians who whip up a sound that owes as much to Queen and Elton John as Leighfield's songwriting does to Ben Folds. It results in a fun vibe - always a good find when faced with the onslaught of shoegazing indie pop that currently shifts units. Spending some time with 'Fan The Flames' you sense the collaborative experience involved in its making - from the gang singing, brass and strings arrangements to the liner notes filled with photographs of the creative community who were involved in the life of the music. However, Leighfield, as chief songwriter and arranger is the centre of attention here - usually for better but sometimes for worse. 'Fan The Flames' may test the patience, not least because Leighfield is a good songwriter but he has a love it or hate it vocal style - his voice has a mod-ish everyman quality laced with, I suspect, an intentional lethargy that means he just about hits the notes but wouldn't be bothered if he didn't (and wouldn't care what you thought either way) - think Jam era Paul Weller, or Frank Turner if they stopped singing passionately. This sometimes results in smart ironic delivery, but on more personal tracks lacks the same power to emotionally resonate. Lyrically Leighfield does funny, confessional and rarely clich├ęd but occasionally crosses the line, trying just a bit too hard to be clever. Overall, an interesting recording showing the potential increasingly revealed in later releases.

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