8/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 30 October 2013
Boyish new crooner Kiran Leonard brings out his debut LP of sentimental singer-songwriter psychedelia this week on Hand of Glory. A writer of heartfelt songs with a bold, plangent delivery over a widescreen bedroom-indie backing, Leonard has, at the tender age of 18, come up with a complete album of self-recorded outsider pop experiments.
Much like the first Patrick Wolf album, what’s remarkable here is that Kiran appears on the scene so aesthetically fully formed - there’s a self-assured simplicity and cleverly anarchic production touches which show he’s in no doubt as to his creative identity. In places the vocals, always high in the mix, can be a bit musical-theatre but even then it’s still decent enough, like the Divine Comedy when they take themselves too seriously or early Hawksley Workman. I’m enjoying the piano-heavy arrangements and the mixture of epic slabs of drama-pop against varied and generally more upbeat sub-two-minute vignettes which add a bit of levity to proceedings, and late album surprises like the out-rock of ‘Oakland Highball’ keep the listener guessing right until the end. A strong psych-pop record whether you take his age into account or not.
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