‘Beautiful End’ by Leon O’Leary- An honest review

I was asked to do a review for a local musician called Leon O’Leary. Remember the name.

He has a track called ‘Beautiful End’ which is set to be released on 31st January. 

The track was apparently recorded at Decoy Studios where famous artists such as Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and (most awe-striking to me) Florence and the Machine have had their tracks mixed. That must be really exciting, I may be biased on this front but seeing these artists leverage their small hobbies into a big-shot career path where they get opportunities like that is very admirable to me.

In small towns there are some individuals that just have something that they won’t let anybody tell them they can’t have. I respect that a lot, it’s very unique to not get boxed in. 

I hadn’t heard of Leon before, but I did some research and got in touch.

Leon is a local musician based in Bury St Edmunds and his focus is predominantly indie-folk. He regularly gigs around the South East, modestly armed with a guitar and on occasion, a backing singer. 

I can pick up on Leon trying to go in a different direction with his music, more experimental and synthy. The track itself has got that signature ‘Hut Sound Production’ ring to it, drawing in on the umph of ethereal, spacey sounding layers. More electronic. I enjoyed it, but I admit that I did miss the more grounded sound of an acoustic guitar to match that raw yet gentle voice. 

I really don’t like comparing one artists work to another’s- especially if they’re up and coming, but if I had to give you a gist of what this track sounds like in association with another artists music I would say that it shares the same kind of vibe as music from ‘The Night Cafe’. 

Beautiful end was lyrically inspired by “the decline of coral reefs. Where the coral fluoresces a bright colour before bleaching white in its death phase”, he told me that this was a metaphor for the breakdown of a relationship as well as the acceptance of a break up. 

That is an incredibly profound concept. 

As much as everything did blend well together, I couldn’t help but wonder if the track would have been done better by taking advantage of the lyrical strength. The songwriting is good, I feel like the lyrics may have got lost in the melodies- as the tune was equally as strong. 

The vocals were really smooth, but as mentioned there was a rawness to it. At times I did notice him straining slightly to keep up with the power of the lyrics AND the music, but I wouldn’t criticise him for that as overall it sounded ace. 

Something I can pick up on with him is that his influences have never been other musicians; at least not to begin with. After speaking to him he told me that his main inspirations are the likes of James Bay, Damien Rice, Ben Howard and Lord Huron.

That said, it’s noticeable that he has his own authentic perspective of music and how he wants things to sound. 

He has been described as an old soul and his music carries a Celtic kind of vibe- likely because nature seems to be a bit of a running theme in his songs. It’s earthy.

The other material I managed to dig out was a single called ‘Ivy’, which has been up on Spotify for a while. 

This was more what I envisioned his music to sound like. 

After listening to Ivy, I am really glad to see him branching out (if you pardon the pun) and being experimental with music, as being a one tone musician can sometimes work against an artist. 

All criticisms given, it’s good to have a few strings to your bow. 

Ivy has got a beautiful sound to it. Calming. I would recommend giving it a listen just to be able to appreciate the versatility of his artist, and be able to understand what I’m saying when the new single comes out. Beautiful End has a different pace to it. 

Listen to his music, and then take a moment to process this. 

The artist is 17 YEARS OLD. 

That’s impressive. For that reason, this piece is harsh. Leon has the ability to go very far.

I’m really impressed. 

Once again, well done to everyone involved and thank you to Seth from Hut Sound for asking for my input. 

Beautiful End- 31st jan 2020

https://open.spotify.com/artist/65OgzCWwi3HneKHdx4XHeG

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