Lawrence & Leigh

Lawrence & Leigh

 New York City, New York, USA
BandRockFolk

A Brooklyn-based duo that balances nostalgia and modern themes within innovative songs-realized in intricately fleshed-out recordings and intimate performances.

Biography

If Andrew Kalleen wasn’t a classically trained musician, one wonders if a single note on Lawrence & Leigh’s debut EP “Hills and Masts” would fall within the western canon-- such is his fascination with the body and shape of noise. Yet, this fascination with sound is filtered through the passion Kalleen and Stokes feel for the ripe relation of harmony and the melodic nuances of rock, pop, jazz, soul-- a passion that pushes the siren call of the atonal avant-garde from center stage until becomes more of structuring influence, a motif, a fascination that rather than stealing the show feeds and nurtures the songwriting-- which is at the core of what this album really is-- songs, written and recorded. Really, really well.

If there is a quintessential trade-off between the extremes of emotive timber that we hear in drone and noise rock, and the comfort of more comprehensible soundscapes, Lawrence & Leigh show us that you can have your cake and eat it too-- and yet, we’re never quite made comfortable. Billy Holliday meets Fleet Foxes meets Sigur Ross meets-- well, say they all meet up under the Williamsburg JMZ subway line. When Kalleen’s mode waxes a little ragged, Stokes vocals often help soften things a bit. Just a spoon full of harmony helps the melody go down? Thank god for buckets.

Kalleen says, “all of the melodies are written without text. Then I
use the rhythm of the line to find where accents in the text should
be, and only use text that flows in that rhythm.” How does the
melancholy of “Healed Shoes” articulate the depression that the verses later develop? How does the major lift precipitate the courage that the song’s protagonist gathers to walk away from a dead intimacy? It’s as if the music is a a soundtrack to feeling thinking being words that move through time on their own. This is not three-chord rock. Like a Jungian archetype, the music on its own recalls some elemental, interminable story, insists that it is rooted in some ancient, incomprehensible structure, and demands that the spoken story actualize itself, that the lyrics stands up and say something that helps us understand what it means to be human being. And they do.

For Stokes and Kalleen, two west-coast transplants, “Hills and Masts” cement the notion that Brooklyn is their creative home. There’s a moment of Musique concrète sound composition filled with Brooklyn street noise that drifts towards a Tom Yorke ballad before tumbling towards a spiraling harmony of epic, God-Speed-You-Black Emperor proportions. And again-- just before the brink, we’re pulled back to earth by a musicianship that one might even label a practical sensibility-- if a six-song EP that spans two coasts, half a century of American musicianship, and took over a year to record can at all be called practical.

Lyrics

Heeled Shoes

Written By: Andrew Lawrence Kalleen

Heeled Shoes

You
In your heeled shoes
Don't you know
I could be using you
Play the part
Remind me of the lines I once adored

Scenes
In a careless hue
It's the fear
That I see in you
Hold me still
Forget the smile that waits for me outside

Eyes to the wall
Drift away
Dream her fall
Bound to wake
And by your shaking body's aching heart I'll lie
And with your shaking body's aching heart
You'll plead for more
You'll reach
But it's not me in there
And you won't see me there
Anymore

Fire
Underneath her hood
While she shines
Like you never would
Would it show
If I pulled apart that dress and moved inside

Eyes to the wall
Drift away
Dream her fall
Bound to wake
And by your shaking body's aching heart I'll lie
And with your shaking body's aching heart
You'll plead for more
You'll reach
But it's not me in there

And you won't see it
'Till I force you to the floor
Walk on out
Clutch the door and say prayer
To thank the dead left behind
And with every step I feel the freedom build
In my chest
Feel it press into my heart
But God I know that I can't
I can't feel guilty everyday
I can't feel guilty everyday
I can't feel guilty everyday
And not today

And you can't say
That I'm to blame because she's you
Way back when
So she makes the glances
Walks and talks in stripes
Bleeds within
Still I won't know it's all the same
Until my hand's
Upon her skin
Wishing all the while that I could just go back
Least I know
I won't feel guilty for today
I won't feel guilty for today
I won't feel guilty for today
And I can't wait

Discography

Odyssey Vol. III: Hills and Masts

Set List

1) Breach
2) Just Like You
3) Heeled Shoes
4) Meet me on the Roof
5) Legs
6) Chelsea Nights
7) Hills and Masts
8) Glow
9) Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie (Joanna Newsom cover)
10) Don't you Wanna Go