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Leaf Library/ Hayman-Kupa Band/ The Drink London, Lexington
Article written by
Ged M - Dec 16, 2015
The fact that The Drink are opening for the Leaf Library album launch just shows what a top night this is. The Drink are a band who came to our attention at the tail end of 2014 and should, if there’s any justice in the world, be one of the bands of 2016. And why not? Watching Dearbhla Minogue tonight is seeing your new guitar hero – sometimes she pulls out the most precise and complicated African-accented rhythms, other times you hear the powerful chords of Television. One time it’s the dream delicacy of ‘Microsleep’, next it’s the pounding rhythm of ‘You Won’t Come Back At All’. And Dearbhla has the greatest backing in Dan Fordham and David Stewart, proving that the three-faced triangle is the strongest shape in nature.
We like Darren Hayman, we like Emma Kupa, but why does the Hayman-Kupa Band leave us feeling a bit underwhelmed? They’re both talented songwriters but their qualities seem to cancel out each other –it’s all very comfortable - and they seem to have held back their best tunes for their other outfits. ‘Boy, Look At What You Can’t Have Now’ is the one song that shows what they can really do, a striking pop tune with all sorts of infectious hooks, and – played faster and with real drums – a million times better live than on record.
There are five people in the band, ten people on stage as The Leaf Library call in their friends to help launch their debut album, swathing the audience in a blanket of gorgeous hazy, hauntological dream-pop. Much is delivering in gentle whispers, the atmosphere of delicately picked out soundscapes like ‘Slow Spring’ sufficiently evocative to captivate 200-odd souls in the Lexy, but they change up a gear too (‘rocking out’ would be too violent a euphemism) with the likes of ‘Asleep Between Stations’ and add a few jazz tricks to their electronic pop. It’s hard to recreate on a live stage such introspective, impressionistic works, that more easily dig their way into your subconscious when you’re listening to them in private, but the Leaf Library evoke a wondrous collective experience with skilful ease.