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  The Last of the Melting Snow b/w A Short Weekend Begins With Longing  
  The Leisure Society  
  Wilkommen Records  
Release Date:


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It is confusing to be a music critic in the current era where the means of distribution of music is changing. At least, i haven't fully figured it all out yet. Sometimes people send me physical releases, and sometimes download links. Having multiple media is confusing, but i am trying to be better at mixing the two types of releases into my listening experience.

Which brings us to the quaint little CD single, which was received into the Evil Sponge HQ about a year ago, and promptly filed and forgotten about. Shame on us, because this is lovely stuff.

But it does raise an interesting question: do people still make CD singles? Such things always seemed like such a waste of plastic to me. I mean, a CD can hold eighty minutes worth of music, while this CD only has a little under seven minutes on it. I guess this is designed to replicate the 7" experience for those poor slobs who do not own turntables. But the CD single was a transitional format anyway, as now this would just be a two-song download from iTunes or wherever. But that seems really strange to me: a two-song download is a recreation of a CD single, which is a recreation of a 7" 45 RPM single. It is twice removed! Perhaps a better term and/or concept needs to be developed, and in time, a new model will be developed, and perhaps in that new model terms like "single" and "album" will be invalid concepts. Maybe i will just be reviewing songs offered for download on various websites. Who can tell?

Okay, enough with the "meta" talk. Let's consider this lovely little CD single. But first, some background info: The Leisure Society is the current act of Nick Hemming, who was in one of the many incarnations of The Telescopes, if you remember that band. Now he has built a five-piece band and continues to do that same sort of melodic, slow pop.

The first of the two songs featured here is The Last of the Melting Snow, which starts with a lovely syncopated acoustic guitar riff and some light strings, until Hemming's voice comes in. He sings lightly, in a rich voice, backed by flute, piano, and a swell of strings. This is a really beautiful song, and the instrumentation and general tone of the tune reminds me a lot of the Simon and Garfunkel album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. It is introspective and vaguely melancholy, but not sad.

The second tune is A Short Weekend Begins With Longing. This is more country sounding, with the guitar picked and scattered, accompanied by light brushed drumming. The strings really work here, soaring and whining in the background, a nice accompaniment to the guitar and Hemming's light voice.

Overall, i am very pleased with both tunes. The Leisure Society are not shattering any boundaries, but they make some really nice pop music. So, if buying a CD single makes sense to you in any format, then this is a fine choice.

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