Album review: LEAPFROGTOWN – Dreaming In Public

LEAPFROGTOWN - Dreaming In Public

Coffee Jingle Records [Release date 25.01.16]

Leapfrogtown – a vehicle for London duo Chris Guard and Stuart Walton – is proof, if it were ever needed, that you’re never old to [start to] rock ‘n’ roll, with their debut a mash-up of much that was good about the ’70s and ’80s.

A youthful 62, lead singer and songwriter Chris Guard is a familiar face on screen having appeared in countless movies and TV shows  including Dixon Of Dock Green, Z Cars, I Claudius, The Professionals, and Dr Who.

His compatriot in crime Stuart Walton was a founder member of cult 80s synth band Indians in Moscow, who managed 3 independent chart singles, an album, and a UK tour before imploding.  He then embarked on a career as a theatre lighting designer alongside performing, recording and producing.

For the pair, Leapfrogtown – a venture spawned in 2013 – was a labour of love: unfinished business as regards their musical aspirations. And despite very publicly flaunting their influences, Dreaming In Public is a very credible release that sounds both fresh and original.

‘Fear’ kicks proceedings off with a mashed Eurythmics ‘Love Is A Stranger’/'Sex Crime’ riff topped with Jim Kerr style vocals and 70′s style sax, before fading to a T. Rex style boogie replete with Bolan warble.  The single ‘Seven’ has a big glam rock beat, an Alvin Stardust sneer, more Bowie/Roxy style sax and angular piano playing.  If ever there was a case of ‘back to the future’, Dreaming In Public is it.

‘Enough Is Enough’ has a bassline that would have done the Stranglers proud, and shades of Ultravox, Simple Minds, The Rats, Dire Straits, and Roxy abound, but wearing a fresh new wardrobe of songs.  ‘Out of time’ perhaps, but undeniably great, toe tapping, fun.  Which is exactly what ‘pop’ should be.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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