Local Sydney band I Know Leopard threw a couple of ripples into the world with their debut EP Illumina, those ripples intensified to become an endless wave. If there was any hesitation in them being a band to keep a keen ear on that was likely all but shattered when they released their latest EP Another Life. A seriously strong follow up that indolently moves around your cranium working its way into your dreams, exploding in vibrance and leaving you to bathe in the technicolor mess it leaves behind.
I Know Leopard burn brightly on their sophomore EP Another Life. Brimming with great arrangements and subtle themes you’ll want revisit repeatedly.
Opener Perfect Picture is infectious, catchy, communicable, captivating, memorable and whatever else your thesaurus can throw at you. An immediate piano line gives birth to a song that hits us with what feels like a synth line reinforced with steel. Not only is this an all enveloping pop song, it’s coupled with a whip smart arrangement, the music feels like it has endless room to play, never feeling too crowded. That’s likely why when listening it feels like we’ve just embarked on a trip with an unknown destination.
If Perfect Picture is the jump off point for our wondrous road trip vibes, then Spaceships is the discovery part of the journey. The title feels like a literal translation for all the ambient, galactic emotions brewing inside of you, becoming fully immersed in a voyage of self-discovery. The song builds subtly but brilliantly, building tension before rising to that glorious Phil Spector Wall of Sound we know and love so dearly. Right as it almost becomes too much the band pulls back nearly all instrumentation to leave us with an affected beat and arpeggiated synth riff. What could have been anti-climactic instead becomes relief, as if we’ve been given a short fifteen seconds to collect our thoughts and salvage our minds in time for the single.
Close My Eyes is celestial reverie at its finest. The harmony between the vocals of Luke O’Loughlin and Jenny McCullagh are so delicious it’s impossible not to dine with the melody over lines like “close my eyes/count to ten”. It’s a sophisticated, well-constructed pop song that sees Rosie Fitzgerald’s bass and Todd Andrew’s guitar weave in and out with each other as if toying with the drums in a delicious little rhythmic pocket. To top it all off there’s got to be some primal nerve that gets triggered through violin, and major props go to its use in this track, allowing the song to truly soar whilst adding a small nugget of foreboding in there.
Dream pop is a term we hesitate to use freely but when closer Another Life bursts from the speakers all we can do is daydream, every ingredient and dynamic in this tune is built for the ultimate ponder. From the first kick of the echo driven beat it’s guaranteed this is to become a seminal summer track responsible for many a nap in your kiddy pool esky.
Multiple listens will reveal the depth of each song and the thought that’s been laid into their arrangement and that’s the kind of crafted pop that is really worth the listen, something that pleases on the surface and then pleasures when you tickle a little deeper. As corny as it may sound we’ll go with it anyway, if Illumina was the kindling, then After Life is the spark that will ignite the fire of the full length album to come.