The funky environs of The Forge, tucked away in Colston Yard, was the venue for We are Leif‘s launch of their EP back in May, reviewed approvingly at the time by Tony Benjamin. They were back on Wednesday to record live and film, meaning headphones were supplied. Heads nodded and bodies swayed as the beautifully balanced grooves were fed direct to our ears. The band’s sound is firmly anchored in the tight grooves and lightly worn sophistication of R&B flavoured nu-jazz. If attention drifted for a moment we could have fancied we were in a hip New York loft. The headphones may have invited comparisons to Snarky Puppy videos, but the band headed these off with a few self- deprecating gags. The music however suggested only favourable reference points with the best on the scene. Skip to Love came first with with layered rhythms from Chris Jones‘ bass and Mark Whitlam‘s drums under Louise Victoria‘s appealing chant- like vocal hook. Transition started with an infectious groove implied by an off-kilter vocal riff. Less is more with this band and Dale Hambridge’s tasteful soloing pulled of the trick of stoking the energy, bringing a smile to faces of the band without ever over-playing. Louise Victoria’s vocal is naturally in the foreground. Her lines flow effortlessly across grooves with subtle shifts of meter and harmony. There’s an emotive fragility to the sound, balanced by occasional shifts up through the gears. We Are Leif are steadily building a buzz around themselves. Look out for gigs and get hold of the EP, satisfaction is guaranteed.
We are Leif – Forge Session, Wednesday 4th October