Leapling seems to be proud of their mellowness on their sophomore album Suspended Animation. Released on Exploding in Sound Records, the Brooklyn trio have created a calm tone that is both exciting and fresh. I had the pleasure of seeing them live for the first time at Stony Brook University before the release of this album and their live performance had a serenading spirit that can slow down our fast-paced world. Suspended Animation spells out “Whats the rush?” and “Stop and smell the roses once in a while, man!” all without being completely and utterly lame and boring.
Dan Arnes sings so smooth that he might as well call himself Mr. Mellow with his swirling, harmonizing background vocals that serves as a sonic exhale that’s entirely pleasant.
This record starts off strong with the smooth ‘I Decide When It Begins.’ At 5:24, this is the longest song on the album as it sets the stage for the entire project. Singer Dan Arnes kicks off the song with “People call me Mr. Mellow…”, which was probably a working title for this record. Cool, calm, and collected is the name of the game for Suspended Animation. Every instrument has its time to shine. The subtle and shy guitar licks pave the way for the soaring strings that float as high as a beach tide on a slightly windy day. ‘Alabaster Snow’ serves as the albums true welcoming with its projecting, multi-layered guitars that don’t scream out attention but you are well aware of their presence. Dan Arnes sings so smooth that he might as well call himself Mr. Mellow with his swirling, harmonizing background vocals that serves as a sonic exhale that’s entirely pleasant.
The calm and collectiveness of Suspended Animation continue with tracks like ‘Don’t Move Too Fast’ and ‘Shakin.’ The former isn’t my favorite track on the record but it does have some interesting pieces like the flanging drum sound that give the song an aquatic flavor. The latter has an existing tempo change that give a proper conclusion to the track. ‘Shakin’ also has an infectious chorus that shows off Leapling’s sharp ear for melody. One of the shining moments on the album is the brief, energetic burst that is ‘You Lemme Know.’ Although it clocks in at 1:45, there is a lot happening on this song. It’s a constant sonic ascension that builds and builds until Dan explodes with rage screaming “KNOW” numerous times before the tracks abrupt ending. The title track that immediately follows, opens with a beautiful subtle piano lick that also serves as an interlude between the chorus an verses. This track feels like the story that sums up the album very nicely. Let’s not forget the wonderful soaring string arrangement present here (previously heard on ‘I Decide When it Begins’) that brings the track together perfectly.
Suspended Animation is filled with extremely melodic song structures that should be the ultimate soundtrack to your summer BBQ. The Brooklyn trio has shown us and the rest of New York what they’re made of and how their sophomore album will bring them to new heights. At 40 minutes, the band’s album is as mellow as it can be. I guess the “Sophomore Curse” only applies to extremely popular artists that are under high pressure from their powerful major label overlords.