Friday, May 11, 2018

Music Review:
"The Fool"
(NNA Tapes)

When "The Fool" begins there are these sounds of drone coming in and out.  It has a dark strings sound to it, like something you'd hear in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.   This is accompanied by the delicate strum of a harp, which sounds exactly like a harp so I didn't have to look it up to realize it was.  Though, I will admit that I've read that LEYA is violinist Adam Markiewicz and harpist Marilu Donovan, but the harp is pretty apparent here.   The way that the two are played together is like combining the darkness with the light.    More than halfway through the first song the operatic vocals of Adam Markiewicz come through.

I remember the first time I listened to "The Fool" I had told someone "I'm listening to a song right now that has this very classical, opera style of singing over a harp, is that weird?"  But I think "weird" is just a way of saying it sounds like something you don't hear every day or you know "out of the ordinary" and that's one of my favorite genres.   I love hearing what other people *aren't* also doing, which sometimes works and other times does not.   But the songs constructed by LEYA are just so beautiful it's hard not to like them no matter what your music of choice might be.

"Sister" is the only song which was made available before this album came out and it does give you a good idea in some ways as to what LEYA is all about.   The singing comes out more now, a bit like Dead Western but no one else to really compare it with, and though I recognize it is still the harp these acoustics do sound more like a guitar here so making that mistake would be acceptable.   It's somewhat crazy to think this was made with only the four instruments listed in credits (two string instruments, two voices) but when you really think about it that can be all you hear it just creates this much larger, more powerful sound when brought together.

The first time I listened to this was because I had downloaded it because I love NNA Tapes and will listen to whatever they send me at least once, but I usually end up reviewing that which is on NNA Tapes so I figured I'd take my first listen just to make sure it wasn't something I was going to immediately delete.   At another point, the tape deck in my Crosley 5 in 1 stereo broke and so while I was trying to fix that I put this on because I had this idea in my head "I need to put on something I have downloaded that I like".  So, from that point on this became something that I liked.

This really is just something that in this giant landscape of music has no comparison point for me, which is really saying a lot, and it's not just the fact that I can label this as being unique because that just means it's something no one else is doing.   If you wanted to sing the songs of Ke$ha but in a style which you think Elvis might, yeah, I don't think anyone else is doing that so it would also be "unique", but that doesn't mean it would be good.   LEYA though, "The Fool", this is just crazy brilliant. 

"Seek" is a song which features Sunk Heaven and that is the point where this album begins to take its descent into madness.   You can hear the pain pouring through your speakers.    The next track- "S2D"- features PC Worship and features the most excellent line: "And forget it / it's gone / cause you'll never need it again"  If you've never thought the sound of a violin, harp and voices could spell destruction LEYA are here to prove otherwise.

"666" has more of a Jessica Rabbit sounding vocals to it, as if we're in that sort of nightclub listening to these words just be belted out.   This song has a feature by Eartheater and so I must shout out Hausu Mountain.    Something people might not know about me is that I know how to read the tarot.   It's funny because I lived in Meriden when I was a kid- I grew up here and am back here now after living in other places- and there is this psychic readings place near me that's been here for as long as I can remember (but it's a house, also, so...)   I don't do readings like that (for money) but anyone who knows the tarot and what "The Fool" means to it will also identify with this wonderful collection of songs by LEYA.

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