Published Oct 25, 2018There's enough heat given off by Throne, Heather Leigh's latest LP, to enkindle anyone who dares approach it. It's a fierce record, a sensual one, and the songwriter's most straightforward output to date.
Leigh's been busy in the years since she released the sinister I Abused Animal, pairing up with fire music progenitor Peter Brötzmann for a series of shows and albums that allowed her to unleash a feral pedal steel beast. Throne shifts gears, in that it's full of songs, with narratives and structures that are expressive and foreboding. Rife with longing, its lyrics and melodies seem both familiar and unsettling.
Opening track "Prelude to Goddess" is a lusty elegy to a being who draws the narrator's attention, causing them to list the features that draw them in: "there's something special about you, the way you flip your hair; the way you dance make me cream… your long blonde hair." Later tracks, such as "Soft Seasons," express their bare carnality via Leigh's pedal steel shredding, alternating between searing melodies and moments of respite.
Both of these modes lie somewhere on the outskirts of traditional pop or blues forms; the music's delirious energy is unable or unwilling to be contained by the strict notion of genre.
Throne's power is in its delivery, as Leigh's brazen siren call cleverly commingles with a deft pedal steel wizardry. The music is uniquely alluring. Its woozy, uncanny nature enhances its charm, making Throne some of the artist's best work thus far. (Editions Mego)