Kieran Leonard – Out Of Work Astronaut (LaLa Recordings)
If the waves of popular music move in trends and cycles, one man resolutely panning the bandwagons and fads for his own inimitable style is London singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard. On his long-awaited debut album Out Of Work Astronaut, he proves that not fitting in isn’t necessarily a bad thing, embracing a unique and sincere approach that makes for an intimate listen.
Sonically lying somewhere between Dylan and Lennon, Leonard’s debut is quietly charismatic; a poetic, thought-provoking journey through curious narratives, strange turns of phrase and gorgeous mini masterpieces. ‘Ouija Board’ lives up to its title with an ominous, spooky atmosphere whilst ‘Vampire’ shows a dark, wry humour with lyrics about imaginary vegetarian vampires. ‘Air Raid’ possesses an inherent sadness as Leonard sighs “I’ve been watching television/Now it feels my life’s gone missing” in just one example of acute societal observations made throughout the record.
Hard-hitting and heartfelt, ‘Harold Pinter Is Dead’ forms the album’s highlight, a gentle piano-led ode not just to the late playwright but to the disaffected youth. It’s the kind of misty-eyed, rousing ballad that wouldn’t feel out of place in the corner of a dimly lit pub at 2am after one too many whiskeys; an unlikely, understated anthem that calmly pierces the heart of student culture with lines like “you’ve got tattoos and Topman shoes/twenty Marlboro Lights and tragically nothing else to lose.”
Tinged with a homemade charm, Out Of Work Astronaut creates the illusion Leonard is performing these songs in the same room as you, an almost tangible spectre leaping from the stereo speakers. It’s a record that is gracefully personal and one that’s unafraid to tread its own path. For those already familiar with Kieran Leonard, Out Of Work Astronaut will have seemed a long time coming. Ultimately, though, it’s been worth the wait, proving to be an accomplished debut that hints at even greater forays in the future.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.