David Como is Sing Leaf. Not Earth is Sing Leaf’s new album. And Not Earth is pretty damn good.
In keeping with all of his previous releases, the Toronto-based musician has played every instrument on the new album. He has also recorded, mixed, and edited all of the work himself before finally sending the songs over to his regular musical collaborator and fellow Canadian Sandro Perri, who also mastered the record.
The eight songs that then emerged as Not Earth had been informed, in part, by the work of Richard Brautigan and echoes of the late, great American novelist, poet, and short story writer can be heard in their construction and delivery. They gently unfold in a soft fusion of variegated colour, pastoral imagery and an ever so delightful whimsy, their creative landscapes bubbling over with mystery and imagination.
The influence of Mark Linkous (of Sparklehorse fame) – a man cited by Como as being his biggest single inspiration – can also be heard, not least in Not Earth’s subtlety and occasional surrealism. There are shades too of another American musician Sufjan Stevens, perhaps most notably in David Como’s distinctively delicate vocals. Add some hazy psychedelia, benign experimentation and fairytale ideation to the equation and you end up with what is a mighty fine record.
‘Easy on You’ – a recent God Is In The TV Video of the Week – introduces the listener to Not Earth and sets the record’s illusory wheels in motion as if it is possessed by an underlying benign spirit. ‘Honeyeater’ takes us off into stranger musical territories. Not entirely dissimilar in feel to David Byrne and Brian Eno’s 1981 masterpiece My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, ‘Honeyeater’ charts another transgressive path only this time to a point where West meets East.
‘Magnetic’, with its gentle push and pull, and the tender bucolic charm of ‘Forever Green’ both add to the record’s undisputed capacity for gentle seduction. ‘Sunshine’ possesses a similarly hypnotic magnetism. And Not Earth’s explorative journey draws to a serene close with the transcendental delight of ‘Out of the Dream’, a song that embodies David Como’s seemingly limitless imagination and his ongoing quest to seek out the more unusual possibilities of life.
Not Earth is released on 25th September 2020 through Tin Angel Records.