Smiling Lessons – The Persian Leaps (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you have ever wondered where power-pop ends and indie rock begins, I reckon it is somewhere between the urgent, staccato verses and the contagious choruses of Lost Cause, not that you can see the join…nor would anyone with any sense care to search for it. Why look a sonic gift-horse in the mouth, especially when they are this brilliant? And if Lost Cause is the spoke around which this album revolves then as it spins it both puts to shame what passes as pop today and offers attractive alternatives to the modern indie sound. Not that The Persian Leaps don’t sound modern, it is just that they don’t bother trying to surf zeitgeists or juggle fad or fashion. They are better than that.

PRN is a punchy opening salvo, employing guitars which seem to jangle and sneer at the same time, Patience brims with energy, splicing together rock grooves and pop poise and Spoon-Fed is all floating vocals and questioning looks. And across the seven tracks found on this small but perfectly formed collection these cool cats do something rare in the modern age and deliver an album which feels like a collection of their best singles. If it came bearing the words The Best of Persian Leaps, I doubt if any would question such a titular accolade. That would be madness.

The great thing about The Persian Leaps is that they are not trying to be anything, they just are.  Perfect pop is just something that seems to happen when they pick up their instruments rather than from any premeditation, their blend of joyous jangle-ment tempered with the slightly grating edge to the melodies is a default setting rather than something that they seem conscious of building. Like all great bands working in this territory, best personified by the likes of The Smiths and Teenage Fanclub, what they do just seems to be an extension of who they are rather than anything more calculated. It’s a sonic language. It’s natural, it’s cool, it fits like a sonic glove – once you have let its charms wash over you pop will never quite seem the same ever again.


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