I generally like my music dark and intense, especially the instrumental stuff, but there are some great happier instrumental records out there that manage to engage me with innovation and experimentation. I’ve recently added a couple of releases from LA duo Leaving Richmond to my small collection of happy music and I want to tell you about their most recent EP “The Bird and the Submarine”.
The songs are built atop electronic grooves and rhythm, using keys, acoustic guitar and largely jangly or fuzzy electric guitar. These build some great little melodies that are unashamedly poppy and light-hearted without being light-weight. Left and right speakers pass the baton to each other as the melodies are exchanged and additional phrases pop their heads up playfully in between. These are tunes for running through the streets and parks with love in your heart or just sitting hand in hand watching the sunset.
Although these songs are always flowing at a reasonable pace there is room for dynamics and myriad shifts in sound throughout each song. There are phrases, lines and structures that remind me of the likes of R.E.M. and Gomez, and a feel for instrumental experimentation that reminds me of Hinterlandt and Jarek. Leaving Richmond blend the segments of the songs together seamlessly so you don’t focus on that change and contrast, and they pack a fair bit in to relatively short songs.
Tagged as ambient, it’s not at all and makes its own statement (why do bands keep effectively describing themselves as scented candles!?). These are well-written tunes that are simply joyful to listen to, and without vocals you get to control just what you find in them.