‘Dear Lincoln’ effortlessly crams more ideas into a breathless 111 seconds than some artists can manage in their entire career
Dear Lincoln sees the 17-year-old Oldham multi-instrumentalist stake a claim to being the next young English songwriter, following on from the much-feted boy wonder King Krule (an artist whose admirable self-assurance Leonard shares) to become primed for adulation.
Beginning in a rush of energy that conjures images of an indie-rock Syd Barrett with its reckless desire to crash through as many ideas as possible. Words spill out by the handful, with melodies and rhythms darting up and down. Leonard careers from riffs that sound as though they’ve have sprung from an amphetamine-soaked Ray Davies, to delicate and aching piano lines that might have featured on James Blake’s excellent second album, Retrograde.
It’s as if Leonard has been challenged to fit as many ideas into Dear Lincoln as Sufjan Stevens has into his brilliantly eccentric career, and though it flies by you can discern an artist of real songwriting skill. It should leave you shot through with disgust at his audacity. But as the final second dies out, you just want more.
If this is what Leonard can do in a solitary song clocking in at less than two minutes, then you’ll shudder with excitement at the thought what he might do over the course of a whole album.
Verdict: An indie Syd Barrett, full of ideas and energy