Inspired by a difficult time in his life, Nick Hemming and The Leisure Society have turned their sadness into beauty
ick Hemming wrote his band’s new album during a difficult time in which a friend was battling cancer, a battle they sadly lost. Throughout this period he was working on demos for the record and gaining his friend’s input. Inspired, the resulting album is linked together by the theme of clinging on – to relationships, careers and life itself. Yet rather than being overbearing or morose, The Leisure Society have created something soaring.
The Fine Art Of Hanging On is their fourth album and builds on the sweeping instrumentation of previous offering, Alone Aboard The Ark. From the opening title track it is easy to remember what makes The Leisure Society so enjoyable to listen to, with Hemming weaving an intricate tale over an electronic drumbeat and swelling strings. I’m A Setting Sun opens with a riff that must surely be a nod to Status Quo’s Whatever You Want, before bursting into a tune which could come from Paul McCartney at his most melodic.
The album’s recurring missive has been subtly imbedded into the songs, surfacing on the piano driven Outside In as an homage to the triumph of the stranger come good. The Undefeated Ego is a majestic chamber waltz urging someone to fight on, whilst acknowledging the limits of human nature. Then, just as hope has blossomed, the album ends abruptly with As The Shadows Form, a simple acoustic lamentation on death which closes things with appropriate finality. We can only cling on for so long.
The Fine Art Of Hanging On is an accomplished work of redemptive beauty and, as is so often the case, shows how personal tragedy can prove fertile ground for a songwriter.
Verdict: A deeply affecting record.
Watch the video, directed by James Moore, for Tall Black Cabins which is taken from the album…