I've actually been tracking The Dead Leaves' progress for a little while now, having first heard their polished, brooding sonics at a set at The Workers' Club last year; but now that their debut album, Cities On the Sea, receives an official release this month it seems appropriate to formally introduce them.
Led by former singer/songwriter Matt Joe Gow (second from the left), his rich, vulnerable croon and a knack for penning an anthemic chorus is at the core of the quartet's sound. Though his inspirations are America's blue-collared heroes like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, The Dead Leaves instead merge the stadium-bound sincerity of early U2 or latter-day Coldplay, with the grit and choppy guitars of gloom merchants Interpol, or The National’s austere songcraft. The latter in particular is a comparison difficult to ignore, chiefly because Gow’s vulnerable baritone eerily occupies the same space as Matt Berninger's bruised poetry.
However, they're never hamstrung by their influences or any musical similarities, instead possessing a passionate sincerity that is all their own. Their debut is rich with surging emotional candour anchored to jagged, choppy rhythms, atmospheric guitars and rousing, orchestral splashes. If The Shoe Fits contains a zig-zagging guitar pattern that strides across stirring brass, Cover and In My Surrender ride dark angles towards defiant, unifying choruses, while Never Had A Lover and If Anyone Asks demonstrate a mastery for studio-craft that belies most groups' first album efforts.
AMR has a whole lot more Dead Leaves coverage planned, including their upcoming Toff In Town show and maybe even an interview. So stay tuned.
If The Shoe Fits by TheDeadLeaves
Harm by TheDeadLeaves