Track of the Day #457: Leon of Athens - Global (Mimosa's Dream)

Leon of Athens – The Islington, London, 3rd October 2014

Already well known in his native Greece, Leon of Athens has laid out his agenda fairly and squarely with the title of his second album – the recently released Global.

His set tonight, coming at the climax of his inaugural UK tour, definitely shows his ambition to make music with a much more international reach. He acknowledges only briefly his first album, playing a couple of tracks near the end of the show, the first of which (‘Children of Tomorrow’) is arguably the best received by the crowd of 100 or so fans quite clearly well acquainted with his music. That song’s simple, optimistic folk pop vibe and sloganeering soundbites have been replaced by something much more complex, deep and ultimately interesting in the newer material.

His opening track tonight, ‘Apartment ‘, for instance, is more melancholy and self-reflective but propelled along by the nicely angular guitar licks of Leon’s right hand six string man Lefteris Volanis. Global‘s title track has its metaphorical head in the clouds – matched by a delightful falsetto vocal performance – and at times feels like three or four tracks crammed into the space normally allowed for one.

Probably the best moments are those when Leon’s music, which effortlessly straddles earthier folk roots and harder edged indie with the tiniest electronic icing on the cake, synchronises with the imaginative imagery he’s commissioned in the form of videos. Projected onto a side wall, the promos for ‘Lifeforms’, which features two ballet dancers performing with a near erotic intensity in atmospheric black and white, and the mad visions that accompany Leon’s euphoric closing track ‘Baby Asteroid’, both provide an appealing extra dimension.

If there’s a criticism, it’s only that Leon hasn’t yet pushed his experimental, genre-fusing ethos quite far enough yet. But even though it’s still operating within the fairly safe bounds of mainstream indie/pop/rock, his music does have a unique charm and character all of its own.

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.