by tom johnson
On paper, there isn’t much about Randolph’s Leap that should work. Eight-piece bands are a rare commodity, for all-manner of reasons, and yet the Glasgow-based collective have somehow always managed to tie these numerous strands in to tightly-knit pop songs that are as endearingly sharp as they are succinct. Work, then, they certainly do.
New album ‘Cowardly Deeds‘ finds them back on fellow-Glasgow label Olive Grove Records and is as robust and radiant as we’ve come to expect. Led, as always, by Adam Ross’ starry-eyed, swashbuckling demeanour, the new record finds the ‘Leap in suitably buoyant surroundings even if the subject matter itself isn’t always quite so aligned. “If life keeps giving you the finger, please give it two right back from me,” Ross warbles on opening track ‘Back Of My Mind‘ and it’s a sentiment that is, perhaps, a rather perfect summation of the entire record: A collection of pop song that feels braced to the wind, always attempting a smile throughout, and despite, it all.
As has become their forte, the new record flips between gleaming instrumental romps and the more resigned side of Ross’ character; one which provides the required change-of-pace on a handful of subtle, eminently fetching tracks, such as string-laced ‘Under The Sun‘ or the beautifully faint strum of ‘Aberdeen‘. There’s plenty to get worked up about elsewhere, however, and on the likes of the compelling, brass-led, romp of ‘Microcosm‘, or wholesome closing track ‘Say Nothing‘, Randolph’s Leap come mightily close to capturing that lightning-bolt immediacy of their much-feted live showing.
An absorbing, hearty, impulsive collection of songs that might not shift the band’s blueprint but will certainly remind you of all that they do so charmingly well; you can stream it in full below right now, ahead of next Friday’s full release.
‘Cowardly Deeds’ is released on Friday 20th May, via Olive Grove Records
You can buy it here
The band play at St. Lukes in Glasgow on the same day – details here
They play Sebright Arms in London on August 13th
photograph by euan robertson