Boy Leadfoot – Turn-Buckle – EP Review
Part of me thought I might be finished for the day…I was all ready to hang up my spurs and rest on my accomplishments from earlier on and just about to stop typing for a moment or two…and then I put on the Turn-Buckle EP by Boy Leadfoot…and then like, what else was I supposed to do once the first track “Swallow” started up? Was I supposed to somehow not get lost in that insatiable groove like anyone else would be? There’s no escaping hooks and smoothness like that as far as I know of – that’s straight cool flowing through your speakers is what that is…and an immediate enticement to listen to whatever the heck might come next from this artist out of my old stomping grounds in British Columbia, Canada.
Because that bass alone and the melody he creates would have been enough to sell me…the fact that “Swallow” has so much more to offer through the brilliant character & personality Boy Leadfoot brings to the vocals & guitars just made the deal that much sweeter to experience. Without a doubt – this is as charming as an opening track can get…stylistically oozing cool and sincere melody that hits the mark. And you know what else? I didn’t feel like this guy reached for a single cliché along the way here…the writing is fresh, the vibe is loose, there’s a serious nod of respect to throwback sounds and a modern day relevance here that can’t be denied – for real, who could resist “Swallow?” Can you? If you can, you’re made of that…hmmm…what do they call that stuff again? Right! Steel, hurt feelings, and bone char. Something like that anyway. You get the point – “Swallow” is completely irresistible, both for the smooth sound and enticing, inviting, & warm grooves in the music and for the way Boy Leadfoot sings it. The way the guitar kicks-in those extra hooks during the chorus is the icing on the cake here…the same cake you were gettin’ all gluttonous on & stuffing your ears with already…cause obviously it’s not cake at all but extremely awesome music & songwriting, with a flawlessly organic single-worthy melody. From the moment it came on and about ten seconds in, I knew I’d be here writing more words today.
Happy to do so when the music is this good. “Swallow” is one of the best openings to a record this year. The kind of song that’s so strong, anything else coming afterwards should nearly feel threatened or intimidated to come through the speakers in fear of not living up to expectations. “Sun-Shine” isn’t “Swallow” – I can’t pretend or lie to ya about that – BUT – there’s very few songs out there that ARE a “Swallow” really…that’s an exceptional level of cool being reached there. “Sun-Shine” does as good a job as any song could coming after that extraordinary opening…almost like a combination of Ben Harper, The Getaway People, and maybe a bit of Hendrix or Cream in there for good measure. Impressive solo and highly unique choices being made there by Boy Leadfoot; this man is nothing else if not completely stocked with personality all-around. You get the sense from “Sun-Shine” that he’s more than happy doing what he’s doing…he sounds genuinely like he’s having fun, enjoying the moment, keeping it loose but keeping it focused at the same time. I could see some people freaking out a bit production-wise when it comes to the chugging noise of the guitar effect bleeding into the track here – but I’d argue this is a move done purposefully…and a masterful choice in going about how to make this vibe even cooler. I dig how you can hear voices in the background, just slightly…unless those are the ones in my head again. Maybe I shouldn’t print that just in case. Okay…I’m like, 99% sure there are background vocals that are roaming around through the mix here that are not of my own making…and as confusing as that may be for the barely sane & holding-on like myself, it’s also completely part of what makes this track so real!
Again…I’ve said it already here today, but personality, charm, character – it all counts for so much in the music Boy Leadfoot is making. Listen to the swagger in the hazy rhythmic flow of the vocals on “Take Easy” – and as IF you needed another reason to love this track any more than you already did from the very first moments where the guitar started hooking you in! It’s okay folks…you can admit it…I’ve completely succumbed to just how cool this dude is too…we’re all friends here in the ‘I got quickly addicted to the stylistic sounds & songs of Boy Leadfoot’ support group and I understand what you’re feeling entirely. “Take Easy” probably has the most balance of the first three tunes in the sense that both the music and vocals really keep it an even playing field for what might catch your attention; but for the record, we’re pretty much splitting hairs…these first three songs really don’t have any weak points and provide serious entertainment you WANT to repeat and listen to over & over. And I fully recommend that you do…I’ve been lost in this EP for a while now and don’t really wanna ever leave it. “Take Easy” is a solid example of just how much the uplifting vibe plays a role in the Boy Leadfoot sound – this infectious rhythm & groove is pure fun; well-played audio-enjoyment designed to be turned up.
Of the first four, the least accessible cut is probably “Subtle” – but don’t let that make you think it’s not worth listening to…it might very well end up being your favorite over time. Borrowing from the Blues, Boy Leadfoot puts in a seriously impressive turn on the microphone, winding words around the beat like he’s the MC Escher of lyrics, leading you into the flow & rhythm in that charismatic style we’ve already come to love. He’s nearly trippin’ right out into Beat Poetry here…retaining just enough of the music around him to keep it a song and not a rant or freestyle poem…but you get the idea, the vibe runs a bit looser here. The focus and musicianship remain tight as ever…but writing-wise, Boy Leadfoot’s less concerned with writing flashy hooks for sure…”Subtle” is kind of what you’d assume you’d hear from the man just lettin’ it all hang out and jammin’ it up. Nothing wrong with that…like I said, plenty of reasons to listen to it still; great flow to the words, smart hooks in the guitars, solid rhythm section keeping it real the entire time as the major backbone in this song. Due to the bass & drums being so stoic & reliable, the vocals and guitars get license to get a bit wilder and roam even further…which I like too.
The bass led groove of “Melting” is solid to listen to…dig the filters on the guitars there too. Wasn’t quite as pumped on the words or vocals when it came to this particular cut, but I’ve got no real beef with it either…Boy Leadfoot seems pretty reliable when it comes to straight-up sounding good. Best way I can put it, is that “Melting” felt a bit more forced in comparison to the surrounding five tracks on the Turn-Buckle EP; where the other tunes all seem to come by their high-dosage of cool organically, “Melting” felt like the focus was a bit more on creating something purposely flashy. All I’m saying is that Boy Leadfoot doesn’t NEED to try…I think the cool-factor is completely built-in here…the more he lets it flow out naturally & unforced, the better off and more sincerely engaging that music is always gonna be. Like at the very end, where redemption comes for the Turn-Buckle EP in the innocence of the final track, “Made To Last,” the EP’s shortest tune. This is a wonderful ending and a serious highlight on the EP – probably one of my favorite performances from Boy Leadfoot in the vocal department as well. Those guitar notes steal the freakin’ show here though…or at least almost…MAN do they sparkle! If it wasn’t for all the incredibly awesome stuff happening in the background & lead-vocals of this tune, those guitars would easily walk away with the award for top honors as the star of the show on this last track – but facts are facts, there IS an amazing amount of contributing layers that’ll both captivate & thrill ya…those guitars might just have to settle for being on a team full of excellent sounds creating this vibe. A solid finale to a record that’s really offered something different than the rest of what’s out there right now; combined with the pure passion and clear enthusiasm that Boy Leadfoot has for making music – it feels like we’ve stumbled onto something special here – the Turn-Buckle EP is a true pleasure to listen to.
Find out more about Boy Leadfoot at the official website at: https://www.boyleadfoot.com
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