Mary Epworth can seemingly do no wrong. After releasing her stunning debut album last year, Dream Life, Mary has turned her hand recently to running a record label, Hand of Glory, a label which Kiran Leonard has made his home. To those who may not have heard of Leonard, let me fill you in. He is a 17-year-old guitarist from Manchester, who over the past year has attracted a word-of-mouth following facilitated by the work of Epworth, who has tirelessly promoted Leonard across her social media accounts. The resulting album is a 16 track sprawl, taking in influences such as Jeff Buckley, with whom Leonard is fortunate to share such a distinctive vocal range and ability, to the instrumental chaos of Los Campesinos circa 2007. What should sound haphazard often is, but Leonard has the raw ability to pull off an LP which, despite being a track or two too long, is full of promise for what this young man has to offer in the future.
Under the careful influence of Epworth, Leonard has the potential to be a successful part of the underground lo-fi indie-rock scene. Lyrically, some of the songs reference growing old, a topic which is natural to all teenagers as they question their place in the world. Take this line: ‘Now that I’m older/what will I believe in?’ In a musical landscape which is full of ambitious young upstarts making music in their bedrooms, Kiran Leonard offers glimpses of talent which could, under the right tutelage and direction, see him become someone who can attract an audience who will stick by him and support him. This teenager has talent, he just needs a clear direction on how best to utilise his voice and work the instrumentation around it.
Words: Joe Sweeting