This is a review of "Lighter Than Leiter" recorded by Felix Leiter. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.
"Lighter than Leiter" is a 2 track CD with "Ten to Seven" and "Learning to be Selfish" pushing out the word about this back to basics three piece band.
The word is that Felix Leiter groove along on guitar bass and drums with a great name, a well designed sleeve and a couple of songs that don't give them the best chance to show what they can do.
Up first is a two bar phrase that swaps minor and major chords for the full 3 minutes 54. No problem jamming along. The voice is passionate. The lead guitar goes out there like a guitar solo should. But here's no real tune or development, despite a couple of attempts to mix in some extra bits and pieces towards the end. I've played it loads of times, but I realise that I haven't a clue what it's about. It's the kind of song I hear a lot on demos, but never on commercial recordings.
"Learning to be selfish" starts with one promisingly sweet guitar chord. Then it goes "My back hurts, from all this bending, bending backwards / compromises shifting / yes means no no no no no no no no no" in a self pitying and long drawn out voice. It's a kind of confessional song that might draw you in. But the plight is not explained or illustrated and it is hard to stay with it after that bleak and maybe daft opening line. A sudden mid-note guitar disappearance and a few seconds of click track at the end was either a strange CD-R error or some recklessly adventurous mixing.
The music is refreshingly minimalist. The guitar is neat. The voice is piercingly strong. But stripping it all back reveals a basic lack of content with very little to focus your ears on.