Some musicians were born to sing country. Leaf Rapids’s lead singer Keri Latimer is such a person. With a voice somewhere between the buttery vocals of Jenny Lewis and the twangs of Dolly Parton, Latimer purrs her way through the bands debut ‘Lucky Stars’, displaying not only her wonderful singing voice but also her incredible songwriting prowess. Born out of Canadian band Nathan, Leaf Rapids deal in wonderfully intimate country music, based around the guitars, vocals and theremin playing of Latimer and her husband Devin, who plays bass. The album is pure and sumptuous Americana, dotted with the odd surprise here and there to keep the listener interested.
Gorgeous opener ‘Virtual Machine’ sets the tone, its laid back closeness making the listener feel like they could be alone with the band in an abandoned log cabin somewhere in Canada. Other highlights include bounding bluegrass number ‘Gravity And A Ladder Of Gold’ and ‘Vulture Lullaby’, an edgy slow track that is smothered with layers of distortion. The only oddity is the closing song, a cover of Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’. Described by Latimer as a “spontaneous recording”, the track feels like a band making a statement to prove they can do something really weird. The result is enjoyable enough but feels a little unnecessary. Given the number of covers done of this classic over the years, it would have been more interesting to hear the band developing their own material in strange and new ways. Nevertheless, despite being only a debut, ‘Lucky Stars’ is the work of a band hitting the heights of their craft. This is a record that definitely deserves time set aside for a listen.