November 20, 2015

The Leonids: Satellite Broadcast Kill

photo: Eddo Hartmann
BEST OF 2015

The Leonids is a band project founded by graphic designer/musician Sonja van Hamel (ex-Bauer). Named after the yearly meteor shower their debut album Satellite Broadcast Kill is a collection of orchestral pop songs inspired by space and the night sky in particular.

Van Hamel toured with Tessa Douwstra (Orlando, Wooden Saints) in 2012 and they found that their voices blended seamlessly, sowing the seeds for future collaboration. After Van Hamel finished writing the basic tracks she picked the Silence Du Monde Studio to work with Douwstra once again and they were joined Orlando members by Viktor van Woudenberg and Ralf Pouw. The songs were rearranged and a Sonja van Hamel solo album turned into a band project. The electric string West Side Trio (Vera van der Bie, Isabella Petersen and Annie Tangberg) was brought in as the icing on the cake.

Satellite Broadcast Kill is an album in the true sense of the word. Each song has its own flow and texture, but all of them contribute to the overall sound and feel: jazzy pop with uncanny ear for harmonic detail. Whether they are taking a bow to the Eighties synths (The Common World) or use a bass clarinet as the lead instrument (Under The Leonids), it all fits like a jigsaw that is complicated and straightforward at the same time. The title track is a superb throwback to the heyday of UK orchestral pop. Adele will be fucking jealous. Recommended if you like Over the Rhine.

The Leonids:
Sonja van Hamel: Wurlitzer piano, vocals
Tessa Douwstra: guitars, vocals
Ralf Pouw: bass
Viktor van Woudenberg: drums
Strings + FX by West Side Trio: Annie Tangberg cello; Isabella Petersen: viola and Vera van der Bie: violin
Tini Thomsen: bass clarinet on "Under The Leonids"

Satellite Broadcast Kill is released thru Birdfish, an independent label founded by graphic designers Sonja van Hamel and Robert Muda. The vinyl album includes a download card (including two bonus tracks).

  1. Nybyen Winter
  2. Lucid Dreams
  3. Under The Leonids
  4. Song I Don't Sing Anymore
  5. The Common World
  6. A Hand Of Hearts
  7. Satellite Broadcast Kill
  8. The Sun Machine
  9. Breathing Backwards
  10. The Sirens
  11. My Muse My Mars
  12. Home
  13. Shadows On My Wall (vinyl only digital bonus download)
  14. Say Happy To Her (vinyl only digital bonus download)

» The Leonids on Facebook

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