Review: Jay Leighton – Hours

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4

Jay Leighton’s debut album gets off to a foot-stomping start with the lead single Wish I Was Springsteen and powers through ten tracks of squeaky-clean production and catchy choruses. Leighton cites the songs of Nick Drake, Nick Cave, Smashing Pumpkins and of course Springsteen himself as influences and these certainly come through clearly in his music – there is a sense of familiarity in amongst the music and it’s simple melodies.

The album is brought down to a slower pace in the middle – a perfect balance with the livelier, rockier tracks either side. Find The One You Love is particularly lush, with beautiful vocal harmonies, heavy string arrangements and a hint of Glen Hansard’s soundtrack to ‘Once’. The rockier vibe is picked up once again in The Devil And I, which is the perfect song to take your mind off the daily grind and distract you with thoughts of the festivals that are just a few months away…

At times, Leighton’s songs can sound a little too similar in style –this is perhaps the danger in crafting simple, catchy melodies. However, the strength and slight edge to Leighton’s voice carry the album through and push the lyrics to the foreground, whilst also raising the choruses to anthemic heights. The choice of Painting Flowers as a final track came as a bit of a surprise at first, with its far slower pace than some of the other songs on the album, however it’s sentimental lyrics and simple, catchy hook draw the album to a very satisfying close.

Hours has some very strong songs embedded in amongst its musical landscape, with melodies that will stick in your mind for some time to come.

Lizzi Michael