In this day and age, people often forget that simplicity is an art form in itself. They forget that you need not spend your life savings on expensive recording studios and critically acclaimed producers to make good music. In turn, Randolph’s Leap use this as their raison d’être.
Having acquired two new members since the release of their debut EP Battle Ships and Kettle Chips, the Glasgow based folky eight-piece are back with their second release, the bizarrely titled long player Randolph’s Leap and The Curse Of The Haunted Headphones.
A collection of short but witty folk gems, predominantly recorded in lead vocalist Adam Ross’ bedroom, the album has a rare vintage demo tape feel to it, giving it a certain unique charm (so much so, that it’s also being released on limited edition cassette as well as download – very old school indeed).
The album opens with Sunday Morning, introducing that vintage feel right from the start with a muffled recording of Ross’ vocals and acoustic guitar, with the presence growing as the track becomes clearer. Deep Blue Sea (released as a double A side single along with Counting Sheep) is a folky number, showcasing the talent of violinist Heather Thikey. I Can’t Dance To This Music Anymore is lyrically witty as Ross tells us of his disdain in being dragged along to nightclubs that play music which, try as he might, he just can’t take to. Level 1 then acts as a wee 8-bitted interlude, followed by News, a quirky little acoustic love song in disguise…
Things then turn a little more upbeat in The Nonsense In My Brain, in which Ross pretty much sums up the song itself (and even the album as a whole) in the lines “I stayed at home today, for I was melancholic/At best I am described as endearingly shambolic.” The combination of happy-go-lucky vocals and flute creates a sickeningly sweet atmosphere that sucks you in and makes you feel those icky things called emotions.
The next few tracks, Bile and On That Fateful Night have a similar effect, with the former introducing a bit of ‘shambolic’ electric guitar into the mix, conjuring up a weird and wonderful mash up of rock and folk. The latter, on the other hand, has a more playful Mouldy Peaches feeling to it, whilst maintaining that melancholic mood. The aptly named Level Two offers another little interlude to the final part of the album which keeps things very short and snappy with the delightfully morbid I Am Dying In My Sleep, followed by tales of heartbreak in the celtic influenced Cassie O’Tone and drunken despair in The Will To Shave.
The record then comes to a close with two more love songs. Falling In Love is far more honest and open this time. It’s not just about falling in love, it’s about learning to allow yourself to fall in love, after years of being told it was all just a load of rubbish. Final track Suitable is similar in that it tells of that feeling of being alone and then suddenly having someone come along and singlehandedly save your life with their own loveliness.
If you’re not into the whole bittersweet quirky folky love song sort of thing then, yes, it may strike you as vomit inducingly sweet and soppy. Nevertheless, it’s still one fine little record you could gladly chill out to.