Over the course of a bright-burning career spanning just five years, Leerone has consummated a singular musical style in which Eurocentric melodies mingle with post-contemporary rock rhythms and ruminative solo piano forays. Now comes Imaginary Biographies, the new CD wherein the LA singer-songwriter employs her formidable composing, performing, arranging and producing skills to further advance a fiercely independent artistic vision. Leerone’s first full-length album, Imaginary Biographies takes its place alongside the debut EPs In This Life, On This Road (2003) and Hail to the Queen (2005), which earned fan raves for their inward-looking original songs, expressive performances and powerful appropriations of influences ranging from Bessie Smith, the Beatles and Carole King, to Nina Simone, Tom Waits and Kate Bush.
There’s something so subtle and beautiful about Leerone and her music. It’s clear her old soul bares much to discuss with the world. Her poetic lyrics mesh with haunting melodies that stay with you long after you’ve listened to her music.
In our review for Leerone’s last release Hail to the Queen we mentioned how her music immediately transports you to an unknown time and place that feels eerily familiar. Her latest musical endeavor does nothing less. “Imaginary Biographies”, Leerone’s first full-length album, holds more of the magic that fans loved so much from her previous albums. From the self-realization in “Life Could Be” to the organic honesty in “Here on Earth”, you find yourself realizing what a diamond in the rough you’ve found. Leerone gets it. No Hollywood fluff, no picture perfect pop songs, just raw thoughts and a talent that is beyond its years.
Each song tells a story from the drifting girl in “Rosie Lee” to reflecting about life in “Knocking”. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll find Leerone creating these little worlds in your mind. As she ponders her place among this progressively dehumanized reality, you find yourself standing next to her and day dreaming about your own placement in this existence. One can’t help but to allude to thoughts of being trapped in a world of memories and dreams similar to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where the imagination paints over the senses and leaves you with a glorified look at your own life.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about this album that speaks to me so. Perhaps it’s the familiar feeling of a long lost friend, the thoughts of the potential I am capable of, or maybe it’s the intimate expressionism put forth. At any rate, this album provides you with a brief look at the soul of a musician who isn’t afraid to bare her natural aptitude to create lyrical poetry that resonates with her fans anymore than she is to openly bare her imperfections. Just as in her previous albums, the work is liberating, autobiographical, and personal.
The album in whole can only best be described as enigmatic. It’s difficult for a musician to continually top their previous work, and Leerone has done it successfully with every new release. “Imaginary Biographies” is without question her most elated creative declaration to date. There’s nothing imaginary here, it’s all very real and exceptional.
Review by Emma Loggins