LEEDS – Everything’s Dandy (Album Review)

With rockers Spacehog, Vocalist/Bassist Royston Langdon has released four full-length studio albums – from 1995’s Resident Alien (which included the hit-single “In The Meantime”) to 2013’s As It Is On Earth – and enjoyed a successful, two decades-plus career in music. Now striking it out solo, Langdon is prepared to present to the world LEEDS. His pseudonymous project gains its name from a loving wink to his hometown in the UK, though despite this appreciation for his native land, Langdon has called New York home for the past 24 years. “I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere on the planet,” says Langdon of NYC. “I feel like I’m part of the city in a way.

Set to bring his blend of self-proclaimed “Futuristic Pop with a down home barnyard feel” to the masses, under the guise of LEEDS, Langdon presents Everything’s Dandy, which arrives on Friday, May 4, 2018, thanks to Urban Turban.

Of the collection, Langdon explains: “This work is a reflection of the re-gentrification of places and the real and meaningful memories they leave in their wake. How our own growth, over time, leaves us with a shifted perspective on ourselves. The once familiar now gone, never to come back except through the ghosts of lovers, places, objects.

Produced and engineered by long-time friend Bryce Goggin (Antony and the Johnsons, The Apples in Stereo), Everything’s Dandy sees Langdon once again stepping into the roles of Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist, performing the majority of the instruments heard throughout. Of course, it is always good to have friends, and Langdon has recruited several here, including Drummer Parker Kindred (Jeff Buckley) and Multi-Instrumentalist Timo Ellis (Yoko Ono, Joan as Police Woman).

The nine-song collection begins with “You Can’t Go Home Again,” where acoustic guitar anchors the gentle yet spacey echoes of this candid, personal tale of love, loss, and searching for redemption in a city you have come to love. Co-written with Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, “I Do Believe Your Day Will Come” is a smoky, occasionally Spoken Word jaunt anchored by some truly soulful piano and an atmospheric bluesy-ness. Next, “What Became Of The People (We Used To Be)” – co-written with Langdon’s brother and Spacehog bandmate, Antony – is a glittery romp with a deliciously classic feel.

The steady beat and sultry saxophone of “Never Let Go Of Your Hand” are a jazzy little affair perfect for any summertime romp, while the gentle sweep of “Someone” sees Langdon going into his higher vocal register for a nostalgic-feeling confessional that is as smooth as a good wine. Somewhat conversely, he goes down to the lower reaches of his vocal register for “We Are Not Alone,” a futuristic, Bowie-esque journey into the moonlight.

Enjoying being young is at the core of the smooth, jazzy sway of “Innocence,” and then Langdon travels to the Caribbean for “No No No,” an island bop anchored in some delicious bass and ukulele. Ultimately, the dramatic, jazzy core of “Leave The Dishes” lends itself to a proper, soulful grand finale of a collection that crosses genres fluidly throughout, experimenting with blending sounds and moods to create something that is never easily categorized and always enjoyable.

Everything’s Dandy sounds exactly that: dandy. A collection that crosses genres but leans heavily towards a Smooth Jazz meets Space Pop core; the end result is solid musicianship, intriguing tales of personal evolution, and an experimental core that shows that LEEDS, or Langdon himself, is never going to sit still and be pigeonholed. His talent is undeniable, and his stories are peppered with soulful, sincere flourishes that exemplify why this man has had such a lengthy career in music. Clearly, when Langdon sits in a studio and allows the muses to flow, everything is more than dandy! For this reason, CrypticRock give LEEDS’ Everything’s Dandy 4 of 5 stars.

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