David Leask’s songwriting and music stand apart for a number of reasons. His latest EP release Six in 6/8 features the talents of many fine musicians realizing the potential inherent in Leask’s work, but the heart of this collection resides with its moving and dramatic depiction of everyday lives. It encompasses moments of joy, discovery, loneliness, pain, and survival with straightforward language and a strong melodic emphasis. It isn’t Leask’s first release; he has a number of preceding albums, all of them garnering considerable critical praise, and has extensive experience as a live performer. The songs included on this release play like instant additions to his live set and, at least a few, will be staples for years to come.
There isn’t a track on the release lacking a degree of commercial potential. The EP’s opener “Indescribable” is an outright love song, but Leask makes it stand out for listeners by threading his own language through the timeworn topic and it spruces up the theme with much needed freshness. The country music influences on the track come across in an artful and tasteful way. “Red Balloon” rates, for me, as one of the EP’s best moments. Leask’s words for the track reach an early peak thanks to how well he weaves imagery, character, and narrative together and the instrumental performances tap into the lyrical mood with deceptively simple eloquence.
“When You Think No One Loves You” is a deeply affecting single that, without question, demands consideration as the finest standalone track in Leask’s discography. Despite adhering to the length restrictions of a traditional pop song format, Leask manages to incorporate impressive scope into the song as it deals with three separate characters struggling in their own way with the track’s overarching theme of loneliness.
Leask’s moving vocal is a highlight moment on an EP packed with such peaks. The track has a slightly orchestrated quality but his voice proves more than capable of matching it each step along the way yet modulating the performance in such a way it never sounds overcooked. There are notable moments following this performance, but I do feel 6 in 6/8 might have benefitted from the addition of an up-tempo number during the second half of the EP. Such a song might mitigate the faint hints of “samey-ness” in the musical arrangements some listeners will identify in the final two tracks. The EP’s problematic characteristics are, however, few/ David Leask’s 6 in 6/8 is an outstanding release overall featuring a song, “When You Think No One Loves You”, that’s a sure contender for one of the year’s best singles.
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