Album review: LEAF HOUND – Live In Tokyo

 

 

 

 

Ripple Records ( Release date – 13th January 2014)

Leaf Hound are a band of legend. Born in 1969 the band underwent a couple of line-up changes before releasing their first album ‘Growers Of Mushrooms’. This release has gone on to gain cult status and has been hailed as the birth of stoner rock, original copies have been known to change hands for up to £4,000! The band, however, didn’t last much beyond the album release with members moving to other bands and the rest was history.

After many years frontman Peter French was persuaded to get a version of Leaf Hound back together which went on to play festivals and gigs to great reviews. They also released a new album back in 2007 which again met with great critical acclaim. In 2012 the band were invited to play in Tokyo and what we have here is the audio and visual record of a few hot and sticky Japanese nights with an equally red hot musical soundtrack.

The CD kicks off with ‘Barricades’ from the band’s ‘Unleashed’ album which is a great blues rock number. To this uninitiated listener it soon became clear why the band have gained cult status over the years. ‘ Freelance Fiend’ follows which features excellent guitar work from Luke Rayner who impresses throughout. Peter French has lost none of his vocal prowess over the years and still has a strong, emotive voice which perfectly suits the music and the mood. This is ably demonstrated on ‘Work My Body’ which is a real ‘tour de force’ for all the band, I assume this track is a big part of the reason that ‘Growers Of Mushrooms’ achieved it’s exulted status, what a track! The songs featured are taken from both albums and all are of equal quality.

As well as the CD the package also contains a DVD of the proceedings which only helps to illustrate how good the band are, to see the intricate fretwork of Rayner up close is jaw dropping. The set list on the DVD also differs from the CD with different songs and an extended set list, this is a real value for money package.

A lot of older bands who gain ‘cult’ or ‘legendary’ status can often disappoint if they decide to reform but Leaf Hound have no such worries. In fact, this is a band who deserve to be heard by a wider audience to make up for those lost years. Who knows where the guys would have been if they had kept it together back in ’71?

****

David Wilson


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