san-fermin

A few years ago, Ellis Ludwig-Leone followed a Bon Iver-esque path and squirrelled himself away from the world to write an album. Less log cabin solitary and more artistic retreat, the young Yale graduate emerged from his Canadian isolation with ‘San Fermin’, a self-titled debut that would blossom into a mini-orchestra of 22 musicians, and lay the foundation for the dramatic, baroque pop that characterises record number two. Down to a relatively nimble eight members, ‘Jackrabbit’ is an album of similar ambition.

Equal parts morose and admiringly grandiose, like its predecessor, it owes much to classical, orchestral flourishes but its pop sensibility, brassy power and ragged sax chops give tracks like ‘The Woods’ genuine bite, ‘Woman in Red’ a theatrical drive and ‘Reckoning’ its mournful, period drama beauty. At fifteen tracks (including interludes), things can feel a little overblown but that tendency also gives ‘Two Scenes’ its curtain-raising bluster. A rousing number of vociferous choruses, Charlene Kaye’s spiralling vocal, and Allen Tate’s weary baritone, it embodies the skill and spirit that makes ‘Jackrabbit’ a fine listen indeed.

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