April 7, 2014, will mark the arrival of CLUMSY KNOT - the long-gestating, thoroughly invigorating, well-worth-the-wait(ing) full-length "debut proper" from RANDOLPH'S LEAP.
Those familiar with Randolph's Leap's already extensive oeuvre - which spans several mini albums, compilations and EPs, many of them self-released - will perhaps question what qualifies Clumsy Knot as their "arrival proper". Newcomers to the Leap's bountiful charms meanwhile may ponder: "how come sometimes they're eight people, and other times they're just a guy?", not to mention, "which one's Randolph"? So many questions, and we will endeavour to answer them all in due course.
Begun on the fringes of a college music course in Ayr circa 2006, the now Glasgow-based Randolph's Leap is/are Nairn born-and-raised singer, songwriter and home-recording boffin extraordinaire Adam Ross - as sometimes aided and abetted live and on record by a seven-piece band that includes Vicki Cole (bass), Andrew MacLellan (cello, guitar), Iain Taylor (drums, guitar), Heather Thikey (violin), Ali Hendry (trumpet), Fraser Gibson (trombone) and formerly Gareth Perrie (keyboards, vocals, guitar).
When not working in a cafe at a wind-farm, Adam ponders in song all from the neurosis of self-doubt to the simple joy of a sax-solo, the difference between barristers and baristas, the appeal of running away to the woods to live like a recluse and the idealistic romanticism of island life (maybe he ponders these things while working in a cafe at a wind farm too, we haven't asked).
These wistful tableaux are most often committed to tape in the confines of his humble Partick abode by combination of acoustic guitar, cheap keyboards and basic drum-loops, with a profligacy that belies their increasing sonic sophistication, which has improved exponentially from the delightfully scratchy, hissy lo-fi stuff of 2012's The Curse of The Haunted Headphones through to last year's Olive Grove Records mini-album Real Anymore to come to bear at least a passing familiarity with what might be termed "slickness".
Just over half of the songs on Clumsy Knot are home-recordings. However, don't be surprised to sometimes see the lesser-spotted Randolphs recording as a gang in such environs as producer/engineer Pete MacDonald's house (formerly a Polish Embassy and home to Teenage Fanclub), and (whisper it) even proper studios - with the exuberantly joyful 'Hermit' proving just what they're capable of unleashed upon pro gear (that is, knowingly-dodgy lyrical puns to the tune of "living like a hermit/ hermit the frog").
Tying together all these many disparate strands of the band in a comprehensive if not always necessarily elegant way - and you understand the title, Clumsy Knot now - Randolph's Leap's utterly delightful debut album is the strongest single statement yet as to just why this band are one of the most loveable new forces in folksome indie-pop. For the way it surveys everything the band are about, Adam describes Clumsy Knot as "my favourite album we’ve made," and we don't disagree.
You'll hear shades of vintage Belle & Sebastian in the lush 'Weatherman', 'Isle of Love' and 'I Can't Dance To This Music Anymore', or hints of The Magnetic Fields in the dour boom-box indie-tronica of 'Light Of The Moon'. And yet throughout Clumsy Knot, there's also something indefinably, uncategoriseably Randolph's going on, hinging on the idiosyncratic vision of a laugh-out-loud funny songwriter who revels in lyric writing as word-puzzles and the daft pleasure of a rhyme-that-doesn't-quite-rhyme ("If I spoke Dutch would that help me much?", Adam ponders ponderously on 'Foolishness of Youth'), and yet who can also stop you dead in your tracks with a moment of heartfelt loveliness (see the beautifully simple 'Black and Blue' or the shivering 'Cold'). All of which beats a direct path to your affections faster than any such unwieldy, 32-limbed creature has a right to.
Lost Map are going to celebrate this occasion in suitably rambunctious style with an album launch show at Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow on Sat, Apr 5. Randolph's Leap will be performing LIVE, with some special support. Consider yourself invited.
Early bird tickets for the album launch will go on sale tomorrow morning at 9am, Friday 17th January, from the Lost Map website - priced at just £6. After the first batch sell out, they'll go up to £8, and then £10 on the door - so get in quick!
CLUMSY KNOT TRACKLISTING:
- Foolishness of Youth
- Light of the Moon
- Black & Blue
- Isle of Love
- I Can’t Dance to This Music Anymore