Leaves: See You in the Afterglow

Leaves, for those that don’t know, are an Icelandic five piece from Reykjavík that have been around since 2000. They have released several albums and received critical acclaim for their debut, Breathe, which was particularly well received in the U.K. where the band was held in the same esteem as Doves, Elbow, Feeder and even The Verve.

Breathe was a long time ago though, and you could argue that the Leaves star has faded over the past few years. Band members, as is the Icelandic way, have been involved in other projects and a lot has changed, even since their last album in 2009.

It may be appropriate then, that their new album is called See You In The Afterglow, implying that the band are aware that their days of popularity are behind them. No matter, See You in the Afterglow is a solid, dependable album. Still reminiscent of the British indie scene post Britpop, Leaves sound reassuringly familiar. There is nothing new, or jarring here.

It opens with ‘The Sensualist,’ which is a good indicator of what is to come. ‘Parade’ is perfectly acceptable and ‘Sleepy Waters’ a welcome change in pace. The highlight of the album for me is ‘Lovesick,’ which fairly bounces along.

Interestingly, See You In The Afterglow doesn’t sound in the slightest bit Icelandic. There is no hint of accent, or any link to the current Icelandic music scene. The only thing Icelandic here is the mossy scene on the cover.

This may well be a case of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’. There is certainly nothing extraordinary here, but there is nothing wrong with that. Leaves seem to be aware of this and seem happy to accept their lot.

Original review posted on Iceland Review online.

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