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David Leask releases new EP “Six in 6/8”

David Leask’s “When You Think No One Loves You” is the defining track on an EP release full of musical and verbal riches. David Leask has a number of fine prior releases already to his credit and his latest outing Six in 6/8, a six song EP studio release, will occupy a prestigious position in his growing discography. The aforementioned single is a big, though far from only, reason why.

It builds, for the most part, around his voice and Jonathan Goldsmith’s piano playing. He incorporates light organ passages into the second half of the song, but the duet style dominating the tune riveted my attention from the first. Leask’s line by line commitment is unshakable. His writing breaks the song up into three distinct mini-narratives centering on a common theme of loneliness and this multi-dimensional take on an eternal theme doesn’t break new ground, per se, but demonstrates a high degree of artistry from beginning to end.

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The piano playing never clutters the track too much and acts as a sort of second vocalist counterpointing Leask’s phrasing. The measured precision of Leask’s language bears mentioning again – there isn’t a single wasted word weighing down the performance and he accomplishes more with deft brushstrokes than many other songwriters ever reach. It’s a fantastic single and representative of his talents as a whole.

“Red Balloon” is another fantastic moment on the EP. It is the longest track on the release, almost five minutes long, and demonstrates his narrative talents without ever risking an overwrought effect on listeners. The use of significant detail and piercing imagery makes this track even more memorable, but Leask’s writing is careful never to veer into overwrought territory.

“Caught in the Tide” is another delicately woven example of the unified qualities defining his best songwriting. The complementary relationship between this song’s instrumentation and lyrical content is noticeable from the first. Leask’s writing gives the song a spartan musical character initially, but it builds over time. The drumming helps shape the track without ever overpowering other instruments and the guitar work throughout alternates between a compositional slant and flashes of artful lead guitar providing swaths of color. Leask’s lyrics employ consistent imagery throughout and his voice elevates them further, particularly near the crescendos.

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“Between Him & Me” concludes Six in 6/8 with an impassioned personal testament about the freedom to follow your heart wherever it leads. It takes the form of maintaining spiritual relationships on personal terms rather than having society or other dictate its conditions. The focused writing ranks among Leask’s best work on the EP and communicates a more personal side of Leask’s character than we have thus far heard on this collection.

The latest release from the Scottish born singer/songwriter clearly shows why some of the music world’s most talented veterans such as engineer Chad Carlson, pianist and organ player Jonathan Goldsmith, and vocalist Quisha Wint, among others, choose to work with Leask. He is a formidable talent with an emotive and wide-ranging voice giving life to vibrant songwriting gifts. Six in 6/8 is a reaffirmation of his powers for those already familiar with his skills and a likely revelation for those encountering him for the first time.

John McCall

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