Monday 3 September 2018

'Mind Full' by Leisure Centre

Australia's HopeStreet Recordings, albeit a relatively young label, has really managed to achieve a lot in a short amount of time. 

One of the label's numerous strengths has been their incredible eye for talent, and whether it be the gritty soul of Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, the country soul of The Meltdown, or the bona fide salsa grooves of Quarter Street, every act on their expanding roster has something unique and distinctly their own to offer.

Leisure Centre though have always stood out - while the label seem to revel in the authentic analogue sound encapsulated by the aforementioned artists, amongst others, on the HopeStreet roster, Leisure Centre's glossy, digital and synth-inspired presentation could be perceived as the antithesis to HopeStreet's overall aesthetic.

That's kinda, sorta why it works.

Originally unveiled under the name The Do Yo Thangs, the group's 2016 'One Plus One' EP - spearheaded by the brilliant title-track of the same name - served as a great introduction to the eight-piece's brand of "Neo/Digi/Future Soul" and set high expectations for the full-length release released this year.  'Mind Full', with song titles including 'You Don't Want To Be With Me' and 'Solace' point to a decidedly darker affair and sees the band tackling the timely and challenging topics of sadness, loneliness and mental health, hence the album's title ('Mind Full').

The music follows in the vein of what fans would hope for following 'One Plus One' - there are respectful nods to synth-based styles from the 80s but it's not a specific sound that roots them in one genre or time as they easily forge ahead with finessing their own unique sound.  The song-writing deserves particular mention as it navigates these sensitive subjects while still managing to interweave songs about being in love and offering something hopeful by the album's conclusion.

A solid and bold release from Leisure Centre and HopeStreet Recordings, and expectations are now higher to see what the collective will unveil next.

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