Leura is classified as a suburb in the City of Blue Mountains local government area located 109 kilometres west of the Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. However, Lëura (with the distinctive addition of an umlaut) is the independent, solo project of Sydney-based Jo Winderbaum. With a producer like Lachlan Mitchell (The Jezabels), you would expect nothing less of her debut EP Creature of Sight than something completely ethereal and untethered by the earthy constraints of mundanity. And in this regard, Lëura is completely successful.
First track off the album Into the East starts off in this vein – like an abstraction from physicality. It feels more like a prelude to the next track Hunters and Bleeders, which sounds like a painful, melancholic confession, laden with regret and hopelessness. But then suddenly, and quite abruptly, the tempo takes a turn for the more upbeat, as if Lëura is using this new, energetic cadence as a sign of defiance. With a guitar rift sounding like it’s straight out of an OC soundtrack, Hunters and Bleeders is a beautifully rich and organic track – one of the standout tracks of the album.
It is this ‘hunter’ and ‘bleeder’ theme which illustrates the cyclical nature of relationships; how two people can blur these personas and eventually swap roles. This cycle literally manifests itself through the record most prominently between the first and the last tracks, blending together seamlessly to represent the pain of unrequited love and devastating depression.
Skeleton Swoon starts off softly and beautifully. Guitar strings plucked ever so softly as a gentle and hypnotising, glockenspiel-fuelled breather fills the background. Seemingly rescinding off into the dark aether of space, Skeleton Swoon takes a turn for the energetic; a rapidly, but quietly, pulsating drum beat in the background, as Lëura croons hypnotically over the top, singing, “sleep my dear. I’ll be here, until morning calls my bluff.”
Sleep Spindles starts off with a guitar rift that sounds like something out of Tycho’s latest album Awake. A hazy smorgasbord of echoey guitar clangs echoing off accompany the mournful longing in Lëura’s voice, culminating in a softly, ghostly wail.
E Cosi, Italian for ‘so it is’, has one verse in it which really stands out to me: “she ruined you”. Perhaps, “so it is” is a song about reluctant acceptance. The uneven, slightly warbled guitar, helps reinforce this sense of resignation, building up into a crescendo of guitar and drums before pettering out.
However, the most conceptually rich and idiosyncratic of the moment of the album comes last. Beast winds downs just as Into the East begins. Abstract and intangible, departing from the artistic ties of the rest of the album, Beast bleeds into Into the East without you even knowing it. If you played the album on loop, it would go on forever. It is in a sense, conceptually infinite.
For something that is melancholic more so than melodic, you cannot go amiss with Creature of Sight. It’s an album that is conceptually rich and diverse, finding beauty in the pain and self-discovery through the exploration of the cyclical nature of relationships.
Creature of Sight is available from today.
See her the beautiful video accompanying her song Drifter below.
Listen to the whole EP below. Dig it? Head to Bandcamp and drop some dollaz.