It's been two fertile years for Yhan Leal since he released his last recording. Quietly determined, Leal has come from busking nightly outside Bellingen's local supermarket, to developing a career as a bona fide touring and recording artist.
Leal’s new album, the eponymous Yhan Leal, was recorded between Leal’s home in Bellingen and in various Sydney studios with Producer Ryan Miller. The new full length album contains all the ethereal dreaminess, melodic guitars and haunting harmonies that are the halmark of Yhan's hypnotic style, but also takes a new direction with the augmentation of a full band and production on several tracks. Themes of love, loss and grief, travel, peace and freedom, are explored with a maturity and honesty, that has developed with Leal's own journey of genuine musical evolution.
Yhan Leal - Yhan Leal
CD Review by Chris Spencer
I found this album difficult to review.
It’s an album of laidback, delicate playing, melodies and presentation.
While I don’t think he’s influenced by the following artists, his music resonates with some of their approaches - Cat Stevens, Hans Poulsen, Ben Lee, Donovan.
Other writers have nominated Patrick Watson, Devendra Banhart, Sufjan Stevens and the Milk Carton Kids.
Now I’m not familiar with any of those I’ve just listed (I’m showing my age!), but those of you who are, may well have some idea of Leal’s music.
It’s not an album of typical folk orientated songs or music with political content.
Adjectives that come to mind while listening to the album: wistful, beautiful, ambient, lush, ethereal, peaceful and laid back.
His producer, Ryan Miller, has ensured a unifying sound to the album.
All of the songs have a similar arrangement, making use of harmony vocals usually crooning in the background, washes of instrumentation and brushes on drums rather than sticks.
Yhan’s vocals are always unhurried, there’s not a raised voice on any of the tracks, although at times he sings with passion for emphasis.
Unfortunately, this had the effect on me to become distracted and lose concentration, so that the music dissolves into the background, becoming ambient.
It’s not the sort of music that grabs one’s attention to demand to be listened to.
Thus, I had difficulty in identifying themes or subject matter, but other writers mention love, loss, grief, travel, peace and freedom.
Songs I preferred over others were “Venice”, “By the Wayside” and “Up on the Mountain.”
Leal hails from Bellingen, NSW.
This is his third release, the previous releases being an ep and a previous album, ‘Wilderness’.
He originally learnt classical guitar, and while this skill is not obviously demonstrated on this recording, his playing of an acoustic guitar is restrained and light.
All very pleasant that might suit the right occasion, but not demanding or commanding attention.
This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 21 January, 2018.