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Jason Smith started Leiahdorus as a solo project in New Mexico in 1998.  After giving Joey B of The Echoing Green a demo tape, the career for this band kicked off as this demo made it into the hands of Todd Durrant from A Different Drum.  He joined his own talents with that of Joey's production skills to release the debut album titled Ashes, Ashes in September 2001.  Along with this debut album, Jason went on to release two singles and tour around much of the western states. He continues to work hard and started to work with Darla Van Winkle and Fox Fletcher for the release of the sophomore album Parallel Universe in 2005. This latter album shows how the band has continued to mature while still maintaining that same unique sound begun five years before.

I've enjoyed the sound from this unique band for some time now through their releases on A Different Drum. Since they've managed to play a number of live shows, I've caught them both times at the annual Synthpop Festival in Salt Lake City over the Labor Day weekend. While they fall incely into the synthpop related genres, their styles also drift off into other similar genres. As I listen to Jason's vocals, I'm often reminded of that same slip into falsetto that Bono from U2 uses. Much of that same rhythm and style is also present in U2's music. So, there's a little bit of that influence in their music as well as the solid synth sounds that fans enjoy.

Taking these styles into account, I think fans can really get into this band's fun and unique style along with their catchy lyrics and music. Be sure to check them out while listening to the Gothic Paradise club radio show.



Parellel Universe - Review

I have to say that this album caught me completely by surprise. While I've enjoyed their previous album and compilation appearances on A Different Drum and have even seen them live a couple of times, what I heard on this album was captivating in a way that I just wasn't expecting. This disc contains ten great pieces and two additional spoken-word extra tracks that serve as the "prologue" and "epilogue". For anyone that's familiar with this band, they'll know that this isn't a group that jumps on the typical synthpop bandwagon with all tracks targeted for the dance-club packed full of techno or trance elements. Rather this album really brings out their more progressive and alternative rock elements, while still staying very electro and synthpop friendly.

After the strange introduction of parallel universes in their "prologue", "Run" kicks off with some awesome hooks that emphasize the interesting twist that Jason uses on his vocals as he often slips into a sort of emotional and pleading falsetto through the entire album. But this piece just fades into the another great work "Freeways" that starts off with a captivating piano loop and soft beat that builds to a powerful climax during the chorus. A catchy element on this track is a sort of dialog in the song that goes on between Jason's vocals and a sort of distant female vox (Chrissy).

As I've been listening to this album these first tracks really stood out for me, but the piece that has quickly become a favorite of mine is "When It's Dark I'm Five Again". The synths really kick in on this piece combined with a little more solid beat as a dance-friendly back-drop for the excellent lyrics. This is the sort of climax to the album and we're left with other great pieces as the album winds down somewhat. Every track is something of a masterpiece with their own unique elements. "When It's Dark I'm Five Again" is captivating for an audience looking for some great upbeat music. "Kiss on the Telephone" will appeal to those that like the music that is more pop-flavored and moves away from the darker moods. "Paper Girl" is another of these pop-friendly pieces, while "Transmission" is another captivating piece with more layered synths and something of a futuristic touch. "S.O.S." and "Parallel Universe" start to wrap up the album bringing the pace down and preparing for the final spoken word piece "Epilogue".

Overall this is another great album from this group and definitely something that people ought to pick up if you enjoy a nice variety in your synthpop-related music.

Rating: 4.5/5

Website: www.leiahdorus.com
Label: A Different Drum

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