Leaves - 53 Degrees Preston - 21.5.05

Icelandic 5 piece Leaves have just signed to Island Records and are due to release their second album "The Angela Test" in August, but any self-respecting music fan who've attended gigs in the last few years will have encountered them at some point supporting the likes of Catatonia or on their own European tours. As support for the mighty Supergrass a reappraisal for Leaves is needed for their comeback.

Musically Leaves have improved, changed their sound and are hungry for success with a new found confidence. The floppy haired singer Arnar Guujuinsson has the distinctive vocal which is part Jimi Goodwin (Doves) and Thom Yorker while the swirly, sorrowful, melancholia can be traced back to the Verve and more recently Coldplay with mellow, chilled stylings. "The Spell" has a sense of it's own grandiose melody with a snatch of synths and an almighty sense of pomp rock melodrama which is very close to Muse. The crowd are impressed but tend to ruin the moods during the moments of calm tranquility, almost stoner rock, by talking over it.

Some of the songs have an epic, almost ethereal quality to them with elongated intros, anthemic majesty and well arranged styles. Leaves will leave Preston with a few new fans tonight (for the foolish ones who missed them either arriving late or preferring to spend time in the bar you've seriously missed a great band). Songs like "Shakma" and "Good Enough" are two reasons alone to check out the album in the Summer. Being European, Leaves let the music do the talking with very little time for idle chit chat. The band will no doubt be touring later in the year so keep an eye out for them, you won't (be)leave how awesome these musicians are.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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