“There I go again thinking that I can just use the phrase “quintessentially English” and get away with it but that’s what “Quicksands & Shadows” by Leanie Kaleido did to me. With twelve songs cleverly utilising understatement as a kind of inverse dramatic effect, she easily charms her way into your heart.
Those of you familiar with her previous album “Karamelien” will find much to remind you of the winsome poetry of that album and songs like “Firefly” or the title track “Quicksands & Shadows” are classic Kaleido metaphorical re-imaginations of finding yourself lost in the maelstrom of intimacy. However, this time around, there is also evidence of a more playful side with the up-tempo “Wake Up Stupid” and “Cherry Reds” being pleasingly retro and, very possibly, actually danceable.
Of the less energetic songs, it is “Dust” that masks the most impact as this is the song that highlights the element of caustic irony that has crept into her lyrics on this album. Her emotional fragility is, as always, duly demonstrated but the sentimental warmth of her outlook provides a more than adequate counterpoint. That said, the rather bleak “The Rainbreaker’s Lullaby” nearly beats it past the post with its sugar coating barely covering the dark shadows that must surely have provided the lyrical motivation. It’s hard to remain detached from a song like this.
Leanie Kaleido is a performer of class and, with this album, she has moves still closer to the style of classic English singer songwriters like the late Lynsey de Paul. Like I said at the start, she’s quintessentially English.”