Léon – Apart
Following the success of her 2019 self-titled debut record and live performances worldwide, Léon returns with more of what she does best. Apart carries the signature pared-back, carefully produced style that has secured the singer’s fanbase, with thoughtful instrumentation and nostalgia-imbued lyrics hinting at her growth as an artist.
Ever personal, demonstrably unique – without becoming performatively intimate – Léon’s writing on tracks like Crazy/Stupid and In a Stranger’s Arms sets the tone for the record, navigating gently but confidently through a whirlwind of relationships past and present. While nothing rings untrue, there is a tendency towards a comfortable generality – moments or feelings are introduced in all their possibilities, but rarely developed into distinct ideas – that cannot detract, however, from the evidence of the artist’s established musicianship. Setting aside her impressive, unpolished voice – at their best in the choir-supported Tell Me, or the more pensive Falling Apart – the composition of each song is immaculate, with careful attention paid to the layering of vocals, the introduction of strings here, piano there, carrying the music along with the emotion she evokes in the listener.
Even when the production becomes more complex, Apart preserves a subtlety that avoids lapsing into the saccharine, a balance of light and dark that bears the mark of the conditions under which creators have had to work over the last few months. There’s no trace of a compromise on this record; but Léon has embraced the need for introspection, a recognition of the shifting boundaries of our relationships to other people – and, poignantly, uncovered a powerful nostalgic potential as she evokes a distant, halcyon encounter of arriving home as a neighbour heads off to work.
Photo: Sandra Thorsson
Apart is released on 30th October 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Léon’s website here.
Watch the video for And It Breaks my Heart here: