After releasing at least three EPs and a score of singles in the last three years, my favorite up-and-coming artist Léon finally dropped her eponymous debut album last month. Now the Swedish indie pop ingenue is touring North America to promote it. Despite playing despised venue Irving Plaza (about to close for eight months for a much-needed renovation), Leon delivered a perfect set list of new material, a well-known cover and early tracks that defines her sultry, soulful style.
I’m drawn to female artists with rich, velvety voices who display the weight and depth of their lower register. Alison Moyet, Annie Lennox, Stevie Nicks, k.d. lang, Adele — all my favorites — line the corridor of great female vocalists the likes of Léon. Her gravel and rasp are showcased best on ballads ‘Liar’ and ‘Come Home To Me,’ my favorite moments of the evening. Other highlights were ‘For You,’ new single ‘You and I,’ a mash-up of Fleetwood Mac-esque ‘Body’ and Fleetwood Mac classic ‘Dreams,’ and my favorite track on the new album ‘Hope is a Heartache.’
Ok, I’m tired of talking, tired of writing, so do yourself a favor, buy a ticket and indulge in the lush lyrical life of Léon. You won’t be disappointed.