“This album is a collection of songs ranging from heartbreak to first dates and back. What sets Leslie apart is that she straddles two extremes: a witty, bouncy pop artist in brightly colored dresses who is pitted against her darker self, a sensual, piano-crouched exhibitionist. Whether it is a cheerful, hook-heavy pop tune about love or a dark and insightful ballad of self-discovery, Leslie Hunt’s music is a window into a her soul for any listener willing to look.”
This is not a new album, but a release from 2009 which came as a recommendation from the eclectic playlist of Dan Lynch on Rathole Radio (‘Tomorrow’s Best Music’). You can get hold of the album free and legit on Jamendo.
Hunt has a fantastic voice and unlike say, Kelly Clarkson, a much more rounded repertoire of largely self-penned songs. Hunt writes lyrically grown up, often anguished, often playful songs. I missed her brief moment in the spotlight on American Idol, but I suspect she’s too quirky for that audience, difficult to corral into any convenient pigeon hole.
From the opener American Dream Man, a bouncy up tempo pop tune, the quirkily named title track Your Hair is on Fire glides into Tracy Thorne/Everything but the Girl territory in sound and structure, with a middle eight that is Paramour-lite. The album really takes off with All the Way, if KD Lang got to sing a Bond theme, this would be it. Let Them Go is a longing for a happy ending.
The stand out track that first drew my notice is Way Too Much, back in a Tracy Thorne groove (but with banjo), sweeping through a full sultry range. First Date is another big bouncy, optimistic pop tune, that reminded me of eighties jazz-pop act Swing Out Sister. I Only Care About You When You’re Gone just goes to show there’s not a weak or bad track on this album.
Alone Tonight and I_ (the most EBTG track yet) return to more anguished material, while Down Day is almost Evanescance in tone. Lonely Home comes in a jazz lounge style, then Sea I Provide is almost big finish Paramour rock track (without the anguish and the noise). But then comes Open Your Eyes, going the full Swing Out Sister / Kelly Clarkson mile, by turns moody, poppy, rocky and electro – with a Beatles’ chamber orchestra break. It’s a tour de force finale.
Why more people haven’t heard of Leslie Hunt I can’t fathom. She’s dynamite. RC
Related: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger