Leure: Holland Sky
- How good is this? Leure is the electronic side-project of Ash Hendricks, one half of Perth's Wolves At The Door. I'm always quite happy with the goth-folk sounds that came drifting out of my headphones every time I listen to them; well not so happy any more, now it just reminds me that they broke up. Not to worry, turns out I am likely even more pleased by the beats Leure is bringing. Whipped up with almost unseemly haste - we're talking a few months, literally - Ash must have been really feeling it back there, because the results are back-to-back gigging, a bunch of national / international supports on the way, an album's worth of tracks and a search-engine-full of internet-hype. Leure's worth it, too, bringing more of that chilly, gothic air, that we already knew Ash was good for, but there's a whole lot more going on, too.
Holland Sky opens with brittle beats, hip-jiving syncopation and bright piano samples backing on to echoing soundscapes, distracting you long enough so Leure can hit you with the big, roughly vibrating synth lead and then slip her sweetly indistinct vocals into a little gap in the middle. It's just about as good as the single, Tired, which is next in line, but the weary, sliding vocal melody Tired lays down is stiff competition. Things are never allowed to get boring, Battles introduces a shuddering sub-bass thud and a slightly distorted snare beat that has the nasty bite of dancehall. Every now and then Leure'll chuck in an instrumental, like Flock or Capture which, without the pleasantness of her voice, make for some dark listening indeed; breaks things up nicely. The ten tracks here firmly kept a hold on my attention. Partly that's because it all clocks in at less than thirty minutes, but it's also because Leure is always changing things, subtley, but just enough to keep your eyes open and the hair on the back of your neck standing at attention, all the way through.
There are a few gothically touched female electronic artists out there: Zola Jesus, Bat For Lashes, Fever Ray and, of course, Grimes - the comparisons between the two are flowing fast, already - but there are never enough, for my money, and none of them sound quite like Leure. Really, have a listen to Grimes and Leure side by side, Compared to Ash Hendricks, Claire Boucher is both way poppier and just that much more odd. Leure is her own coldly precise, sweetly echoing thing and that thing sounds really good.
- Chris Cobcroft.