|Leonardo's Bride |
Angel Blood Review
Angel Blood is far better than it has a right to be. As first albums go, it's an amazingly assured piece of work that betrays no inexperienced fumblings in the studio.
Dean Manning's tunes are precise and to-the-point, and his lyrics explore love and angst while always remaining just on the right side of cliche. In less sure hands, Angel Blood could be a dull blancmange, but it's a finely constructed album.
Manning throws in a few entertaining novelties on the way as well, most notably by using the Beastie Boy's technique of throwing in gratuitous cultural references (Lewis Carroll, Lenny Bruce, Oscar Wilde) to provide us with a convenient shorthand of where he's coming from.
Only a handful of bands write one genuine classic across their career: Angel Blood contains Leonardo's Bride's. Kissing Bedrock is an achingly spare, beautiful tune that reveals a level of restraint and maturity rarely seen in a band this young. As with all great songs, it contains not a note more than necessary to convey its gorgeous, desolate imagery.
The band covers an array of sounds and moods on the album without ever overreaching or slipping into uncritical conformity. Australia could do a lot worse than make Leonardo's Bride our next melancholic pop stars.