Leisure – Sunsetter: Album Review

LEISURE is what Sunsetter is. A deep dive into the immersive waters of Ambient Soul Sonic Groove Thang. The album glides across that ocean like a sleek racing yacht up on its foils.

The band trace their origins to gathering first in Muriwai Beach, and from there a road trip through the wild and majestic West Coast of the Mainland. Sure to have inspired many artists before them from all fields.

 LeisureThe five members are familiar in the music industry in New Zealand. Joshua Fountain has been producer to Benee. Jaden Parke had success with earlier band Goodnight Nurse. Jordan Arts performed in Kids of 88. Rounded out by Tom Young and Jason Schoushkoff.

Slipping Away has that smooth-riding seamless Soul groove of the early Seventies which broke out possibly with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On.  A great high tenor to falsetto voice which graces most of the album. The polished plaintive sound could even fit into the Superfly soundtrack of Curtis Mayfield. Keep slipping away is a mantra which could be meditative or a drug experience.

All the songs use short phrases as hooks to anchor a contemplative or meditative mood and that is heard on Lonely Nights. The bass is supple and bends the notes.  But also dominant like Bernard Edwards of Chic. A Jazz Disco groove which becomes hypnotic.

Eye 2 Eye is pleasant and romantic. A club atmosphere where all threats have been removed and it reminds me of that brief Eighties androgynous dance movement called Vogueing. Strike a pose!

Spark It Up has the best falsetto vocal performance on the album. Lyrics remind me of Barry White without the body heat. Words are there for texture. The songs don’t really peak. They stay in a languid groove.

Beautiful has some Jerry Dammers keyboard muzak to begin. Then gets subsumed in the general wash of laid-back.

Be With You. A masterclass of Ambient Soul Groove. Light trance music with beats and throbs and soft horn accents.

Seamlessly blends into Take You Higher. The mantra here is I wanna take you higher which is the legendary Sly and the Family Stone rallying cry. The difference is stark. No edges or screeches. A pleasant marshmallow world.

Mesmerised. The Eighties Club sound. A bit of Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtrack from the keyboards to open. The dominant bass touches on the Dub style that Robbie Shakespeare perfected.

Flipside. But it’s the same old song, with a different meaning since you’ve been gone. Buried deep in the heart of these guys is the sound of classic era Motown. Their Jazz chops would help.

Visions of You. The singer can be as androgynous as George Michael or Mick Hucknall at a stretch. Little breaks make for rhythmic shifts which amplify out like a pebble dropped into a smooth glassy pond.

Curiously, the music seems to evoke the absence of people. A portrait of the country as wide open and silent landscapes. Dramatic sunsets. Sunsetter.

Rev Orange Peel