Whenever I get an email from a PR agency about a Twin Cities based band, that album or EP always gets moved to the front of my list. Although I claim to know a lot about the local music scene, there’s still so much I don’t know and so many acts I’ve never heard of. That’s why tonight’s choice is ‘Smiling Lessons’ by The Persian Leaps. Although they are a Saint Paul based band, I’ve only ever heard their name in passing so I was super excited as I hit play on this brand new EP.

“PRN” gets this seven-song EP started. My house was instantly overcome by a happy-go-lucky indie rock sound and a smile stretched across my face. The beat of this opening track is infectious and the sound although retro in a way comes off as fresh. This would be a great summer jam so, being that we are at the beginning of winter, this track was the perfect sound to put me right back into the denial that we’ve already had one snow storm and there will be plenty more to come.

That tried and true retro sound continues as the album moved onto “Chamberlain” which was an instant favorite of mine. There’s something about the guitar tone in this track that I absolutely love and, when combines with the crisp bass line, steady drums, and indie-rock vocals, you are left with pure perfection. This song almost has a hollow element to it that, although not typically something I enjoy, hit me in the perfect spot. Channeling their inner The Replacements, The Persian Leaps proved to me with this song that they absolutely deserve my attention (along with yours)!

At just under two minutes, “Patience” is the shortest track on this EP. The hollow sound instantly disappeared as this track started playing but The Persian Leaps stay true to their distinct retro, yet somehow modern, sound. This anthemic track led perfectly into “Lost Cause” which was another favorite of mine. It’s short and punchy and chock full of energy along with earworm parts that I’m sure to be humming as I attempt to fall asleep tonight.

“Your Loss” has a much more modern feel than the previous tracks. The garage-rock styled guitar sound is replaced with something a little bit more crisp and clean while the vocals still have a very The Replacements-esque sound. This perfect blend is something that I truly think only The Persian Leaps could pull off so well. Although you can hear all of their influences clearly, the way they mold them all together into one sound is absolutely amazing. This dreamy track was another favorite of mine and, yes, I’m catching onto the fact that every one of these tracks seems to be my favorite.

“Spoon-Fed” brings an almost surf-rock inspired song to this EP. Although it’s a sound that can be heard throughout the previous five songs, I feel like this track really brings that vibe to the front and in a perfect way. Even though the surf-rock element keeps this track fairly upbeat, there’s something a bit more somber about the vocals in this one as compared to the rest of the album. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still clearly The Persian Laps, but there’s just a hint of sadness and pain in the vocals on this track that is subtle but heard loud and clear.

“The Entertainer” is the last track on this quick EP and it definitely ends the release on a high point. It’s anthemic, it brings all of the elements heard in the previous tracks through while still introducing new elements to this band that keep you wanting to listen to The Persian Leaps to find other elements that may be hidden throughout the album. Instead of slowing things down for the final track, The Persian Leaps keep a very steady and powerful drumbeat going until the bitter end as if to leave a bit of an echo in your ear that can’t quite be shaken.

Sure, go ahead and call The Persian Leaps just another indie band from the Twin Cities but I think that’s unfair. You can hear the greats of the Twin Cities scene from years gone by throughout this EP but you also hear the twist that only The Persian Leaps could put on that sound. I may have never really paid attention to this band before but I am definitely paying attention now.

My Favorite Track(s): “Chamberlain”; “Lost Cause”; “Your Loss”

For Fans Of: Anthemic Rock; Retro Rock; Twin Cities Music History

Dance-ability: 5 out of 10

What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie sat right between my face and my computer screen so I blame any typos on him; Autumn ate dinner in the kitchen

How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6 out of 10

My Overall Rating: 6.2 out of 10

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Check out ‘Smiling Lessons’ HERE!

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