Rising New Zealand outfit LEISURE has released their new album Leisurevision, which follows their 2021 record Sunsetter. But while that record aimed to breathe life into a "mad world," this new record is notably more introspective.
It's the organic evolution of a band whose members have grown and changed and adapted outside of their music, and those changes are subtly reflected in this new material.
"I think it means different things to different members," says Josh Fountain, of the founding members of the band who was previously part of the Auckland group Kidz in Space, speaking with Variance ahead of the album's release in late September. "With this group of songs, it's a lot more introspective. There's a bit more weight to the songs, lyrically. I think five of the six of us now are young dads. It's completely shifted our perspectives. So maybe Leisurevision—to me, anyway—is how we're seeing the world."
While the music and lyrics this time around do have special significance, it's still very much influenced by the band's trademark sound, dripping with lush, summery melodies and fizzy production.
"Hopefully it's music you want to listen to on holiday or when you're relaxing," says Fountain, express sincere pride in this new batch of 12 tracks. "It's almost like a rose-tinted glasses kind of thing. The idea of Leisurevision—like seeing the world in a different way."
The band has certainly made vacation vibes part of their brand, but Fountain says going into this record, they tried not to overthink how this new material sounded, admitting the know from past experience their "worst stuff" tends to unfold when they ruminate too much over specific songs.
"There was a freedom now," sounds Fountain, who adds: "In the past, we would go away and write these songs that were trying to sort of capture a mood or a vibe and not worry. This time, for whatever reason, when we were going into these sessions, what sort of naturally came out of us and what we were writing about was slightly more heavy."
But Fountain says it wasn't a conscious choice to make heavier music. And perhaps it wasn't until they were finished making this record that they realized it was simply the result of where they all are now in life, focusing on family. One such difference is the band members were writing more snippets of music and lyrics apart from each other, which likely influenced the sound of the music.
"We have families now, so it's harder for us all to just go away and make demos," says Fountain. "Now, we're writing on our own and sending ideas to each other, maybe emailing a piece of music or maybe a guitar melody and then everyone works on it and you can tell if people are vibing on it or not. You'll get a response or a thumbs up in the chat. And I think that's lent itself to more personal songs rather than a big groupthink. It's actually great."
Along with this new record is the band's first proper U.S. tour, something they are definitely excited about. Their upcoming trek begins on Oct. 28 in Los Angeles, which is perhaps fitting, because as Fountain recalls, their first show in L.A. was one they tried to forget.
"We were so excited the first time we played in the States very early on," recalls Fountain. "But it was an absolute disaster. When we first played L.A., I think it was at School Night and we were very new as a band. We only had about six songs, and it was very high-pressure because we were just starting out and we knew there were labels and publishers. But we this four-part harmony thing and we all came in on the wrong note. And at School Night, you're so close to everyone and it completely shook us and it felt like a downward spiral from there. Probably the worst show we've ever done. And after that, we retired that song from the set. We never played it again. So ever since then, we've been like, we've got to come back, have another crack at it and pretend like that never happened."■
LEISURE's tour dates:
10/28 — Los Angeles, CA — El Ray Theatre*
10/29 — Los Angeles, CA — El Ray Theatre+
10/31 — San Francisco, CA — Independent
11/2 — Portland, OR — Wonder
11/3 — Seattle, WA — The Showbox
11/4 — Vancouver, BC — Hollywood Theater
11/7 — Denver, CO — Gothic
11/9 — Chicago, IL — Chop Shop
11/11 — Toronto, ON — Lee's Palace
11/14 — Boston, MA — Sinclair
11/16 — Brooklyn, NY — Elsewhere +
11/17 — Brooklyn, NY — Elsewhere *
11/18 — Washington, DC — 930 Club
* sold out
+ second date added