LEO is an eighteen-year-old artist from Australia who recently released The Young Prince Lear. He mentions he like artists like Mac Demarco and Chance the Rapper. You can hear both of those disparate influences in his music. I'm not sure why Mac Demarco is the most replicated artist out there at the moment but he is. It used to be The Strokes but more and more artists seem to be replicating the sound of Demarco. I suppose it's much harder to sound like Sigur Ros or Jon Hopkins. Luckily, the influence isn’t as overt on The Young Prince Lear as other artists I have heard come through on this website. In fact it's only a couple of songs. Lesson is if you happen to be an artist with little to no following don’t start off by sounding like Mac Demarco.
The songs on this album are very well written and I thought his R&B based soul songs like the opener “Pristine” were his best work. This is a very catchy song and despite the lo-fi production LEO’s vocals sound (pardon the pun) pristine. Great opener. He has some more success with “Never Before Breakfast” but the song feels like a far cry from the opener. This chasm of stylistic difference is something he needs to think about on his next release.
The Mac Demarco influence bubbles to the surface on “Sonic Addict.” It’s a pretty catchy but the guitar tone and melody sounds too close to comfort to Mac Demarco. “Dårling” is a slick R&B song. The song is solid and I thought the production was inventive. That being said it feels worlds away from “Sonic Addict.” He closes with “Light Another” and “Gravitate” which were both a testament to his songwriting abilities. There was a little too much low-end mud on “Gravitate” but that was forgivable.
LEO is a young artist who not only has some talent in the songwriting department but is also a good singer. Although I think he is off to a great start considering his age he is making a couple of novice mistakes he will want to address.
LEO needs to figure out how to combine his more soulful R&B music with the relaxed, guitar pop. The problem right now is that the songs don’t and because of that paint a very confusing, polarized vision of the artist. This may work for different albums but doesn't work nearly as well for songs on an album.
I think in fact I guarantee with a little more time, patience and practice his best material will lie in the future.
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