Nothing to hide
Leisure is a New Zealand-based indie-pop band throwing down some clean-cut alt R&B. On their second full-length album, Twister, the group continues to throw together well-produced tracks inspired by funk, hip hop and R&B all while clinging onto tired indie-pop formulas. While there isn’t a bad song on Twister, the group fails to stand out sonically. The breezy funk bass, chunky sequenced drums and breathy shallow lyrics provides for great lounge music but leaves a gap in substance. The lack of risk doesn’t mean this album is unlistenable; on the contrary, everything is recorded impeccably, the mixes are thick and it’s obvious the group knows what they are doing from a technical aspect.
But even for pop, technical expertise can’t make up for a total lack of creative vision. The artistic dilemma comes when it is impossible to differentiate a band’s sound from 100s that came before it. And while this concentration on originality was probably never the point for what sounds like a solid attempt at an Apple commercial jingle, some people need a better reason to turn a band’s music on.
The sameness of a lot of these tracks both in structure and aesthetics can be applauded and disdained. The producers are focused on a specific sound and that leads to good production, balance and cohesion. The drums hit hard, the melodies are alive and can be interesting, but there is no change in tone. A symptom of this one-dimensionality is the unwillingness to be offensive, both sonically and lyrically. There is nothing wrong with feeling good and relaxing, yet the breathy under-dynamic delivery of the lyrics over lively indie-pop instrumentation gets old.
There is a time and place for Twister such as driving to the beach on a nice day or taking it easy on your day off, but there are better options out there if you look for them. As a group, Leisure has vast potential, and they could make amazing songs with a little more structure, vision and something to say.