An ep dedicated to geographical nostalgia is not a tagline you hear often. Leo Arams Downs, the guitarist and songwriter from Brighton England has had more to celebrate this year than his local football club’s successful top flight season. His latest first half of a two part EP is a magnificently produced 4 track journey about contemplation, mediation, and reflection.
Starting with ‘A Life Abbreviated’, Leo begins with a more dreamy soundscape that utilises heavy vocal layering, slow and subtle electric guitar twangs, alongside a very mellow and understated percussion in the background. “When the sunlight it greets me, it sounds like its cold, and i trust it completely , because it never gets old, and it flows like a river to the depths of our soul” is a beautiful set of lines that truly defines the geographical nostalgia that Leo attempts to describe. ‘A Life Abbreviated’ is for all intents and purposes, a track that is perfect to consume alone, completely immersed in the nuances in the production. Far from a single guitar driven piece, it utilises a plethora of unique tricks to deliver the final piece.
On ‘ Not At Peace’ the vocals are taken a notch lower. “I think I read it right, for once in my life” sings a more melancholic Leo. Here, Leo utilises a bit more repetition, but his vocal performance is distinctly here and there. At one point low, another point high, and at another harmonising the two, it’ s a beautiful harmonisation that attests to the sheer capabilities of his vocal range.
‘White Noise’ utilises a more techno esque production in the beginning before the electric guitar kicks in. “Forever falling in and out of love with the places I exist in” is a definitive line of the album. Leo has a way of describing your attachment to spaces, the air they create, the feeling they bestow onto you in a way other artists don’t often explore enough. Using the theme of white noise to speak in this song, he sings the verse with a much more poppy tune than the previous two pieces. “You know there’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t give, I’m running back in time to the place where you lived”, its a call to places and people together. “Can you hear me through the white noise”.
The closing track, at only one and a half minutes long, seems instinctively out of place with the rest of the EP, but it does its part perfectly. Its sort of like an afterthought, or a letter given when one leaves a place. The mesmerising vocal humming towards the end before the noise slowly fades away just leaves you hoping for more.
I can’t wait for part two of Leo’s series. The first was a magical blend of Indie pop songs that is well worth your 20 minutes of time.
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