Having found ourselves eagerly hooked on her single, All The Things I’m Made Of, a few short weeks back there was inevitable destiny that attention would swoop the way of How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale, the new album from Léanie Kaleido. It was an intrigue and intent rewarded with a warm hug of craft, and imagination wrapped in as alluring washes of melancholy, celebration, and humour; simply a release which if seeds of captivation were sown in one song erupted in full bloom in front of its temptation.
The daughter of original Yardbirds guitarist Top Topham, Kaleido has earned a rich reputation and fan base for her heart bred songwriting and charm lit music. How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale is her third full-length and the host of songs within which her prowess in both aspects flourishes in mastery and individuality. Its tracks can be tagged as alternative pop yet even in their uncluttered character of voice, reflection and piano there are open tinges of indie and alternative rock; dare we say even an essence of punk which shapes their bold voice and tantalising.
Recorded with producer Mark Gardener who also adds guitar and bass to the release, How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale opens up with that aforementioned single, All The Things I’m Made Of immediately wrapping the suggestive drama of Kaleido’s piano keys around ears with her equally welcoming tones soon in their midst sharing poetic thoughts of the heart. It is a gentle yet firm invitation which gathers its temptation by the second as words, emotive breath, and melodic intimation unite in one magnetic and subtle but richly infectious weave.
The highly seductive start to the album continues with Someone’s Daughter, a gossamer sheened proposal around the earthier strum of guitar. Shadows add to the song’s compelling air, their emotional bearing matched by the physical presence of Kaleido’s synth bass. Yet there is an elegance and radiance which brings hope and support to its reflection and a call of the heart which again is a blossom of catchiness.
A song “inspired by the greed of people who financially abuse elderly relatives”, Nobody’s Hero follows and though bearing thoughts for any age and moment in time to contemplate seems to have a relevance which fits the current Covid devoured times, a period where no one has been lonelier and easier prey to the exploitive out there. It is also another golden moment of beauty within the album more than matched by its title track. Within both, stringed and melodic shimmer and luminescence radiate upon melancholy hued words and sentiment shared by Kaleido’s ever seductive tones, a mix of deep felt reflection and infectious dexterity honed to inescapable captivation; as the music around them instinctive and skilled in equal fascination.
The enchanted serenade of Mr Dragonfly and the darker classical lures of Sweet Science lie in nature’s beauty and open intimacy respectively, successor Codeine an even more haunting insight upon the darkest aspects and moments of life. All three courted the imagination and trespassed inner thoughts in their varied matters, and all left a lingering imprint on ears and thought, the last especially potent with its raw rock strands erupting throughout like an imposing protagonist.
There is often a tongue in cheek lining to Kaleido’s songs too which has its head in the smile giving Hat Thief, a Chris Gussman guesting acoustic jaunt you will be in tune and singing with in a handful of seconds while Teapot Girl sees the singer songwriter again exposing an earnest and openly tainted heart within a beauteous union of voice and piano. There is lyrical intimacy in songs which whether from experience or observation for their author cannot be escaped in some way from finding a link in one’s own personal journey.
How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale departs through Kite String Mantra, a track like Codeine featuring Jono Harrison. Bearing a whiff of XTC to its winds, it epitomises the beauty in sound, elegance in word, and individuality in temptation of Léanie Kaleido and a record we cannot recommend with more eagerness if we tried.
How to Weigh a Whale Without a Scale is out now via OX4 Sound; available @ https://leaniekaleido.bandcamp.com/album/how-to-weigh-a-whale-without-a-scale
Pete RingMaster 15/07/2021
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