Artist:  Leeland
Title:  "Sound of Melodies"
Label:  Essential Records

Many people walk around and live their lives as if the world revolved around them. As the center of the universe, they imagine that they are also, by default, the center of attention and the object of affection for everyone and everything else that exists.

In reality, whether we realize it or not through all of the distractions of the day, God is this central figure with a gravitational pull that draws all of our focus and attention. As His creation, we along with everything in the world testify to His greatness and long - consciously or subconsciously - to please and praise Him.

New group Leeland has enjoyed quite a bit of center-stage treatment for the last few months as the release date for their debut project, "Sound of Melodies" drew near. Since they participated in a showcase at this year's GMA Week, they've received a lot of attention and "buzz" within the industry, making the album one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year. Those who give their attention to the hype may be surprised to find the distinctly worshipful bent of the lyrics on the album. "Reaching" describes our longing to be closer to God and be in His presence, while the title track describes our lives and songs as the sound and praise that we have to offer God. Other tracks such as "Yes, You Have" and "Can't Stop" speak of our relation to God defined by an undeniable love as we are drawn to Him.

While the message of the lyrics proves to be powerful and rich, what most likely caused the industry's initial reaction to Leeland was their music. And the songs and melodies on the album prove to be quite enjoyable indeed. The vocals are reminiscent of the classic pop sounds of groups like The Beatles and Phil Keaggy which gives the album the slight feel of a folk-rock charged with a bit more electricity than one might expect. Rooted in the acoustic sound, the group adds strings to round out the arrangements. The tone ranges from the lively anthems of "Reaching" and "Hey" to the slower, thoughtful tracks such as "Beautiful Lord."

In times when there seems to be a standing complaint about stale music and recycled melodies, Leeland finds ways to reestablish an intrigue and freshness to the scene. Perhaps that's why they've been the topic of conversation so often and perhaps that's why they deserve our recognition. "Sound of Melodies" proves to be well worth the listen with an enchanting soundtrack that hooks listeners in early and keeps them for the entire album This young band has a lot to offer and should have a great future. Definitely one to watch.


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