Just a drummer and a guitarist, who also sings. No, I’m not talking about The White Stripes. I’m talking about Leopold and His Fiction. Just about every piece of press I found on the band mentioned the White Stripes, and now I’m guilty of that, too, but other than the fact that both bands are duos, they have very little in common. Where Jack White makes hard blues with an edge, LAHF make classic jam-based rock and roll. In fact, when I first heard “Be Still” I could have sworn I was listening to Kings of Leon, only cleaner and smoother. “Mother Nature’s Son” is similar, but with much more reliance on reverbed vocals. But the big difference is the fantastic guitar work that is far superior to anything in that other alt-blues band’s repertoire. To be sure, much of what you’ll find here will remind of bands like The Black Kews, which isn’t a bad thing, but you can’t call Leopold derivative. They take this sound far beyond the walls that contain the Kings.
The anthemic “Promises to Reality” is probably my favorite on this record. It features stop-on-a-dime breaks, incredible drum work, and an extended jam. My son said it was weird because it kept ending and restarting, but that’s the charm of it–it breaks down an improvisational sound with mathematical precision, no doubt due in part to the Mr. Toccalino’s reputed jazz training. The albums got it all: County blues, old-time rock and roll, slide and acoustic numbers, long jams, quick hooks . . . I’m going to go out on a limb here and call it an early contender for one of the best records of the year. . . The year 2006, that is. How did this drop and nobody noticed???? WTF????
Ahem. Oh well. Better late than never. Check it out, it’s awesome.
She Ain’t Got Time
Be Still (demo)
Go On Have My Way (demo)