It’s a pretty cold and dreary day up here in Minneapolis. There are a few snowflakes falling which just adds to the feeling of this being a good day to just hunker down with a good book and some amazing coffee but I have too much work to do to get away with that. Thankfully, I’m feeling motivated and have already gotten a lot of work done but I need some new tunes to help push me through the day. Thankfully, the stack of albums to review on my desk has never been bigger so I blindly pulled out Lee Cleaveland & The Lefthand Band’s Self Titled EP. Let’s take a listen and see if this is the soundtrack I need to keep on trucking today!
Whimsy is the name of the game as “Bummed Out” kicks off this quick release. A fun whistle is replaced by a stunning saxophone within the first seconds and a smile instantly grew across my face. A little Americana, a little indie and a whole lot of rock, I fell head over heels for this band within the first few moments of this album. There’s just something so freeing and fresh about the overall vibe. Although not too intense and far from aggressive, there’s an undeniable call to action feeling in this track and it was absolutely what I needed right now. From gang vocals to a beautiful alto sax solo, this track had it all and I was so excited to hear the rest of this album.
I’ll be honest, I don’t like Veggie Straws. You can’t fool me– I know they are vegetables and I would much rather just have some chips but listening to this track aptly titled “Veggie Straws”, I couldn’t help but feel a craving for them. Bringing the fun of this band to the spotlight, this track is clearly not just about veggie straws but that didn’t stop this track from laughing and smiling all the way through. A more standard rock n’ roll vibe than the first one, I loved the power and anthemic value of this song. It’s catchy and ear-wormy without being cliche or overly familiar. It’s quite amazing what Lee Cleveland & The Lefthand Band does with their sound. There are so many layers in this track and each layer brings a different tone. All of those layers and tones come together to make a sound that can only be described as Lee Cleaveland & The Lefthand Band.
Although the first two tracks were absolutely catchy, there was something about the beginning of “Flag” that instantly caught me. There’s something almost pirate-rock about the beat that instantly made this a favorite of mine. Whereas the first two tracks seemed to focus on the more whimsical rock vibe of the band, “Flag” shines the spotlight on a more punk-influenced vibe. Even when the track slows down for a more somber rendition of the words previously laid out with a punk edge, there’s just something about it that I could not get enough of. Sadly, this track is short at only two and a half minutes. I don’t usually allow myself to listen to a song more than once when I’m reviewing an album for the first time but there was something about this song that made it impossible to move on without a second listen.
The sides of this band continue to expand into “Don’t Hit My Line”. This track brings a more retro vibe to the album while still keeping the infectious attitude and energy that has reigned supreme throughout all of the tracks. Although I know Buddy Holly is definitely not a perfect comparison for this track, there’s just something about it that was giving me those vibes and I was eating it up note after note. That more retro vibe continues into “Wendy” with some great ooh’s and aah’s while bringing back some of the more classic rock n’ roll energy that this band does so well. Although the lyrics of this track really didn’t hit me in any particular way, the way they are sung with such a sense of conviction and emotion is absolutely amazing and is just the icing on the cake for this track.
“Daddy’s Got A Med Card” is the final track on this all-too-quick EP. Thankfully, the band doesn’t slow things down at all for this final track and instead, they bring a bit more of an edge to their sound. Still keeping with that more vintage sound in the previous two tracks, the vocals come with a little bit more grit and the guitar with a bit more of a southern flair making this another stand-out track. Much like “Veggie Straws”, the lyrics of this track had me giggling on the inside. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing given the lyrical content but, regardless, I found this track infectiously playful and fun. The piano part heard about a minute and a half in is something that I wish I had gotten more of throughout this EP but I guess that just means I’ll have to listen to more music from Lee Cleaveland & The Lefthand Band to find it elsewhere! A fun track to end a fun EP, “Daddy’s Got A Med Card” is a perfect culmination of all of the great elements heard throughout this EP!
My Favorite Track(s): “Flag”
For Fans Of: Retro Vibes; Undeniable Power and Fun; Good Ol’ Fashioned Rock N’ Roll
Mosh-ability: 5 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie slept on the back of the couch; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.3 out of 10
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