Release Date: June 6, 2016
L. T. Leif would be engaging enough if she was just a simple folk singer-writer. Heck, more than engaging. And yet she is much more than that as she has a tendency to explore less conventional sonic terrain. Not exactly experimental (although sounds bites such as “Watery Space Vision” and “Shadow on the Brim” could be described as such) but the incorporation of electronic sounds and processed guitars grants her the claim to being a weird folk (even electrofolk at times) artist at the very least.
It is interesting that Leif has chosen to release ‘Shadow on the Brim’ and ‘Rough Beasts’ when they were actually recorded separately and represent two different artistic statements. The former is more stark, with limited instrumental accompaniment. It also features more trips into ambient electronic territory, as witnessed on “Under Our Waking, A Cave”. By contrast, the latter has fuller arrangements and the songs can be described as being more baroque (even Beatlesque in the case of “Puff Ball Thing”). The music here is both lighter in tone and livelier in pace.
Which of the two versions of Leif is better? Fortunately, we don’t have to choose as you can simply enjoy both for their own strengths. “Deep Bright” may be more ethereal with its “empty room” vocals and subtle electronic flourishes, but “Dontdonut” with its pounding bass drum and whimsical feel is equally enjoyable, albeit more traditional.
Leif has many facets to her musical talent: folk songwriter, charming vocalist, intriguing ambient/electronic arranger, to name just a few. On ‘Shadow on the Brim/Rough Beasts’ she lets us have our cake and eat it too. We don’t have to make a choice — we can have it all.