JUICE - JUNE 2000 
open sesame review 

talk of writer's block and internal struggle have surrounded the long delay of this album from leonardo's bride. the great white hope from sydney's glebe/harbourside scene managed to come through with a hit in the sublime 'even when i'm sleeping' thanks to the songwriting and arrangement skills of songwriter dean manning and the dreamy presence of singer abby dobson. the song hit heights, the band toured on it's back and then, it seemed, promptly disappeared under a weight of creative pressure.

that was three years ago and while what they've produced in the meantime isn't going to surprise anyone in its style, it's been worth the wait. the first single 'sonic' is no indicator of the rest of the songs here. a short and average guitar rock blast, it may be the obvious upbeat hook, bit it leads off an album dominated by the band's staples. it's acoustic, introspective, traditionally arranged and augmented, and its emotional core is far from the burst that is the rock single. with her talk of dark angels and pedestals, dobson seems preoccupied with fall and redemption here. sometimes she finds an upside as on 'alaska' or 'begging bowl'. but despite the full throated rasp of her voice, which is as strong as ever, we get a glimpse of a character bruised and unsure. there's always undercurrent optimism, but for every love song from a romantic heart [dreamship] there's a counterpoint wordly line ['somewhere on the trail, i threw in my hand for a heartful of holes' from 'blue gone green']. from the mushroom stable of intelligent aor, this album is!

another highlight. but in the pan!
theon of comtempory pop, it's neither here nor there. [7/10

simon wooldridge