Phonotonal

The Leano
Steps to Leanoland LP

The mere existence of the tracks ‘Ganjaholic’ and ‘On the Toilet Seat’ made it difficult to review the rest of this album objectively and seriously.

‘Ganjaholic’ is where ‘bong’ rhymes with ‘song’ and ‘long’ and where ‘holic’ (as in Ganjaholic) rhymes with ‘wallet’ (so The Leano thinks anyway). He appears to have taken leave of his senses for long enough to write and record this, and the seven people in the studio taken leave of theirs long enough to applaud moronically at the end – though I noticed it sounded suspiciously like the introductory applause played back…

The rhyming couplets in ‘Ganjaholic’ are weaker than the subject material, which is weaker than the feeble guitar accompaniment, which is weaker than the tunelessly meandering drone of The Leano. In summary; as weak as The Leano’s resolve to stop smoking so much weed and start making decent music. ‘Don’t hate me cause I like green tree’ he quips. You can just picture the out-sized red, yellow and green Hessian hat and bloodshot eyes. Drugs aren’t big or clever The Leano, and neither is this song.

‘On the Toilet Seat’ rhymes ‘microphone’ with ‘toilet bowl’ (again, perhaps in Leanoland) and ‘toilet seat’ with ‘beat’. It has no apparent melody nor meaning, positively abysmal synth dirge in the background and even features a bona fide toilet flush sample at the end. The grimace I made while listening to this track should be captured as evidence of its quality.

‘Black Box Friend’ has more going for it than the cumulative rest of the album. The Leano perhaps has some ability to put a track together after all – it punts along fairly inoffensively. However, it was a fleeting moment of sensitively written music to an infinity of noise and a deceptive start to the album.

In general, ‘Steps to Leanoland’ sounds like Shaggy messing around to make his mates laugh. The Leano oscillates between his own North London inflection and an embarrassingly put-on Rastafarian accent. The accompanying beats are average at best, offensively poor at worse, achieved on a £24.99 keyboard in The Leano’s bedroom while stoned in 1994, I’d hazard a guess. Apparently he has quite a following in Hull. I’m wondering what’s different there to any of the places I’ve gone to gigs. A performance of anything along the lines of ‘Ganjaholic’ should technically have had him laughed off stage.

The £24.99 keyboard was never more apparent than in ‘Rolling River’ – a tune which starts nowhere in particular and ends similarly, via a complete lack of meaningful melody. This is blatant eardrum irritation, only surpassed by the synthetic accordion noise in ‘Brothers and Sisters’ which actually made me turn down the volume it was so unpleasant.

The Leano sells himself as a beat poet. I cast my mind back to second year English class when the teacher told us that writing poetry was nothing to do with making things rhyme. The Leano was probably skinning up behind the bikesheds when he should have been in that class. While a smattering of his lyrics may be credible and insightful ( those not involving weed or bathroom behaviour), his appalling rhyme and ability to put words to music could clearly do with some work. A lot of work.

This album has little going for it musically, but it may make you laugh like I did.

Guest article from Laura S.

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