Wolverhampton's Leigh Bucknall, Mango - album review
The mantra tells us "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Wolverhampton musician Leigh Bucknall - frontman of former Unsigned column stars Flatline Stereo! - has taken this and run with it.
If it ain't broke, extend it.
Last year his M.A.N.G.O EP made it into our end-of-year round-up as one of the best we had heard in 2018. Now, Bucknall has taken it back into his DIY studio where he gets busy recording, producing, singing and playing every instrument you hear and doubled its length into a full album - Mango.
Added to the five EP tracks - Is There Something I Should Know? (Now called Something I Should Know?); Scars; Just A Fool For Love (Now called Fool For Love); Nineteen and Shooting Stars - are Like A Bullet, Some Day, I Will See You, The Pleasure's All Mine and Tonight.
We've covered the five tracks on the EP before - and special mention once again for the rip-roaring Scars as an exciting introduction into Leigh's influences outside of Flatline Stereo!.
And in this case, 'quantity = quality' for the Wolves-mad musician who is employed by the club.
There's some lovely acoustic moments added to the guitar rock of previous material. I Will See You leads this charge with sweeping verses that show a softer side to Bucknall's vocals.
But it's where he rips forward with his big rock riffs that Bucknall really shines. The funk-fused The Pleasure's All Mine has a big, thwonking undercurrent throughout that is joined by a spiky wall of guitars for the big moments that evoke memories of Royal Blood's 2014 debut record. Wait for the breakdown for the final quarter, it's prime Feeder at their absolute peak.
Those Feeder vibes are reintroduced for the album's finest moment - the incredible Some Day. The way this song builds is masterful, before the growl becomes a roar and we are slapped back and forth between the vocals and riffs for the chorus. It's fantastic.
Opening track Like A Bullet also holds rockier romps of a lighter nature with a lot of the anger lifted out for a more party anthem feel.
This guy has some talent inside him.
Mango is available to download on all digital platforms. TO hear it, check out Leigh's Spotify page.