Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RANDOLPH'S LEAP The Curse Of The Haunted Headphones


Listen to any of the songs on this 15 track release and it is no surprise to discover it was recorded in singer Adam Ross’s bedroom. It has a casual, no-frills feel: the drums (when they feature) are tinny and up-close-loud with the sweetly fragile vocals placed shyly further back. You cannot help but picture the band cosily huddled around a single microphone (and probably an unmade single bed too). What does come as a surprise is discovering that Ross’s band Randolph’s Leap actually numbers eight members in total - for the stripped-bare acoustic folk-pop on “The Curse Of The Haunted Headphones” sounds more a solo turn accompanied by occasional recorder. And it turns out many are: “
the rest of the band don't feature much, but at least I don't have to share the profits with that miserable rabble".


There’s a curious decade-spanning feeling to these homespun tunes. Sometimes, a trad Scots folk take on 60s coffee-house folk revivalism permeates the broken spirit laments of ‘Deep Blue Sea’ or ‘Cassie O’Tone’ with quietly strummed guitar and mournfully triumphant fiddle. At other times, a 30s comic ballad whimsy takes hold, like when Woody Guthrie dropped the politics and anger and penned childish rhyming ditties, in songs like ’Dying In My Sleep’ or ‘The Will To Shave’ – the former about “my long term plans....a distant goal but one I’ll share / I’m dying in my sleep / at the age of 103”. Elsewhere there’s a happy-go-lucky naivetĂ© and unspoiled simplicity to ‘The Nonsense In My Soul’ like King Creosote at his most spartan and softly melodic. To wrong foot the listener there’s also the console game sound effect interludes ‘Level One’ and ‘Level Two’ plus the neon cover artwork to interject some garish 80s references. ‘Bile’ is the moment when you feel there really is eight people crammed into that bedroom and the frugal alt-folk switches to distorted casio-fuzz pop.

For all its rudimentary recording properties and suggestions of whimsy or simplicity, “The Curse Of The Haunted Headphones” is a direct and deeply affecting record. The emotions – whether playful or serious – are honest and open and engaging. The closing song ‘Suitable’ softly asserts “you make me feel wonderful”. This is a heart-lifting and off-the-cuff collection of songs that has the same effect. It’s available now digitally or on limited edition cassette tape on Peenko Records.

 Randolph's Leap - The Nonsense In My Soul by peenko

Randolph’s Leap The Curse Of The Haunted Headphones [BUY]

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