EP Review: I Know Leopard

Words by Alaisdair Belling

Last year, it seemed that Sydney’s I Know Leopard would remain would remain one of the undiscovered gems of the underground music scene, only gracing the ears of the lucky ones who really went searching. The past 12 months, however, has put that statement to the sword, with the band touring nationally with both Gang of Youths and Last Dinosaurs, in addition to a slot at BigSound 2015, performances with San Cisco, and a recently-embarked-upon national headline tour. To cap it all off, the band have just released their long anticipated second EP Another Life.

I Know Leopard do not waste any time establishing with listeners what it is they will hear on this disc. Opening track Perfect Picture is beautiful and ethereal, maintaining a steady, driving rhythm, anchoring down the diverse range of instruments above. The mixture of guitars, keys and the odd violin form a rich texture, allowing the vocals a little room to breathe. The main vocal hook “I’ve got the perfect picture of you in my mind, I wanna know how it feels to love you but I’m terrified at the same time” is infectious, and disappears as abruptly as it began, leaving the listener craving more.

Spaceships sees the band rely more heavily on synths, with a 80’s feel accompanying the steady groove. The addition of strings is a bold move, but the band pull back at just the right times. However, it is on Close My Eyes that the talent of this band is truly showcased. The violin is again used, but with greater confidence and assurance, creating a wonderful hook throughout the verse, and a vocal call and response. The song then dips before opening up into a rich, expansive soundscape of a chorus, capped off by wonderful harmonies and controlled energy in the rhythm section. The dynamic changes and instrumental sparkles result in an engrossing song which can be listened to over and over again.

The EP closes with title track Another Life. Again you can hear a more electronic influence, clearly inspired by artists like Tame Impala and Air. A broad, sweeping song, with an echo-laden beat, there’s even a vocoder, adding an extra dimension to the backing vocals throughout the chorus. Whilst the string-led outro of the song admittedly drags, it is a rare fault in a song that displays both the creative capacity and discipline of the band, who avoid crowding the track with too many sounds.

Another Life is a fantastic listen. The worst part about it is the fact that it is only four songs long. Each track has character, life and colour. The ‘I Know Leopard Sound’ is almost impossible to categorise here, with a wide range of influences playing a part in a memorable listen. A huge plus for a rapidly ascending band.

Purchase the EP here.