17 Sep 2019
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Leighton Fairlie - EP Review: Distant

07 May 2019 // A review by Jamie Denton

Loop Recording artist and multi-instrumentalist Leighton Fairlie, who was originally from Mount Maunganui but now based in Auckland, has been busy opening for some of the best NZ dub/roots bands such as Knights of the Dub Table, Salmonella Dub and The Black Seeds. On Distant, his debut EP, Leighton demonstrates an ability to forge a sonically interesting, and coherent sound from a wide range of genres, such as dub, roots, and drum and bass, and proves how well he can stand up next to those bands.

Fans of roots/dub will find a comfortable, yet unique sound throughout Distant. Making clever use of subtlety changing riffs and rhythms, Leighton has created a sound that will be the soundtrack for many summer BBQs and backyard hangouts. This is a highly accessible, yet also intriguing EP.

The recording, production and mastering quality is fantastic; crisp drums, clean guitars, and many other layers of sound all work harmoniously to create a good time, yet still a very chill, vibe. Coupled with the highly positive lyrics, and strongly emotive vocals, Distant is a captivating journey through sound.

One of my favourite tracks is the genre-defying title track. It cleverly abandons much of the overall sound and feel of the first two tracks (which are still strong tracks in their own right), which maintain the classic feel-good roots/dub vibe, moving instead into a sparser space that plays nicely with the concept of tension and release. The drums are treated as an instrument in their own right, not simply a time-keeping device, and my personal favourite moments in this track are from when the drums are absent; a very effective, yet relatively under-utilised effect in this style of music.

After dropping this very strong EP, I expect to be hearing a lot more from Leighton Fairlie in the future. I look forward to it!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

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