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Leya - Watch You Don't Take Off

Leya, Watch You Don't Take Off

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DO WE really need another angst-ridden indie band in the mould of early Embrace, present-day Starsailor or ballad-mode Richard Ashcroft?

If you think the answer is yes, then Leya’s debut album, Watch You Don’t Take Off is probably the album for you.

The Belfast four-piece seek to deliver on the potential that made Hotpress readers declare them to be Ireland’s most promising new band by upping the emotion considerably so that each track is brimming with intensity.

The template is set from the outset with Let’s Pretend, a yearning love song that slow-builds towards some epic highs. It opens with the lyrics, “if you could be the one for me, well I’d be the one for you, and you could be my everything, and I’d mean the world to you” before emersing itself in chiming guitar riffs and epic strings.

The result isn’t as inspiring as it ought to be, partly because this well-tried formula for success is proving to be a little tiresome.

Former single, Stay offers more of the same – aching vocals, melancholy riffs and tender piano chords. It’s the flipside of its predecessor; a heartbroken lament about a love lost. And it’s ok.

But the formula soon becomes a little stale. In Our Hands, for instance, is a slow-burner that chronicles yet another failing relationship (‘I could walk away but what would I do without you?’).

While When You Least Expect It is clearly striving for the emotional intensity of U2’s One without really coming close.

Ciaran Gribbin’s vocals are undoubtedly powerful – Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody described them as the most extraordinary he has heard in a while. But while similar in style to U2’s Bono and Starsailor’s James Walsh, they appear to be striving a little too hard for an epic greatness that, sadly, the music cannot provide.

Which brings us to the main problem, really. Watch You Don’t Take Off is simply too earnest in its delivery. It’s far too serious, far too contemplative and just needs a little burst of energy.

Leya are clearly musically accomplished but they do need to explore some fresher avenues.

Track listing:

  1. Let’s Pretend
  2. Stay
  3. In Our Hands
  4. On All My Sundays
  5. When You Least Expect It
  6. Again
  7. Moving On
  8. Prove
  9. Dream The Money Bought
  10. Certain Understanding
  11. All On The Black

  1. Hi There

    I do have to say I do agree with your article. Leya to me are four very talented musicians and with Ciaran Gribbins voice I feel ‘Watch you don’t take off’ is one of the easiest listened to albums I have heard for a long time.

    Donna Brownlee    Apr 21    #
  2. It’s all very easy to sit back and say that “oh , they should have done better” or “not that same old thing again”. For God’s sake, this is a self produced debut album with textures so thick and juicy, I would nearly prefer it to a good steak. And to dare bring Embrace up to this level?! SHAME ON YOU…

    matt    Apr 28    #