‘Good Luck Everybody’ sounds like the soundtrack to a Jake Gyllenhaal film which would definitely be worth watching. Its subject matter is fantastically diverse: misunderstood muses; Bob Dylan’s cigarettes; a Los Angeles break up, even pole dancing in Hull. Dreams, visions, lost loves and quasi-religious moments pepper this seemingly autobiographical record, making it an astounding piece of work, as good as anything else released this year.
Kieren Leonard is a singer and songwriter in the vein of Nick Cave with the otherworldly tint of someone like the arch-drude himself Julian Cope, timeless and occasionally reminiscent of a male Tori Amos. He looks however, like a more respectable version of Kurt Cobain and sings stories of heartbreak and real life whilst still managing to sound detached enough from reality to form his own religion. The epitome of quirky and cool the music is melodic and mesmerising with piano and guitar taking turns to lead, a supremely underplayed drum section, occasional big bass lines and then there is Saint Leonard himself. His voice has the same fragile quality which made the Nirvana front man appealing, though his is a very English voice with a husky clarity and clear diction not so common nowadays but very real, very human, utterly authentic. Musically there are nods to jazz, blues, americana and even a little psychedelia and whilst the official genre is indie rock that doesn’t really do it justice, it’s so much more.
The pace and balance are good, there is never a moment when the attention fades, you find yourself slowly drawn into the surreal world of St Leonard until you are at one with him. The only criticism which could be leveled at this piece of work is that the real world in which the listener is left is somehow less interesting than it was when the 53 minutes of this album are over. If you want melodic escapism from your musical experience here is a perfect example. An eccentric misunderstood hero is nestled among the movie, literature and art world references opening his world to those that will listen.
This is one of the best albums of 2016, mixing the magical with the absurd and the painfully real its hard to describe how good it is, so the last word shall come from the verses of St Leonard himself “I dreamt I was being harassed, by very large cat in a surgical mask”, haven’t we all?
‘Good Luck Everybody’ out 14th October via Xtra Mile Recording
This St Leonard’s Horses article was written by Richard Dunn, a GIGsoup contributor