Leaf Hound - Live In Japan

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They, or at least front-man Pete French, have been around for over 40 years, but famously Leaf Hound only have two albums to their name and this, recording in 2012, is their first ever official live release. Sadly, from the amateurish cover art to the short running time, this is clearly a release that has been produced on a budget. Leaf Hound spent around two years playing the entirety of their classic debut album Growers of Mushroom for their 40th anniversary alongside tracks from their 2007 album Unleashed, which could easily have given rise to a full-length live release. Even before and after that they were playing 65-minute sets which mined both discs admirably. Instead this contains just three tracks apiece from both albums, plus a cover of Howlin' Wolf's Evil, spanning just 38 minutes. Key tracks, that were definitely played on the 2012 Japan tour are missing, including Stagnant Pool, The Man With The Moon In Him and Sad Road To The Sea, and the brevity of the disc is doubly disappointing because this was actually recorded across more than one show, so the capacity to include more songs, even if the shows themselves were oddly short, was clearly there. What makes it such a shame the set is over so quickly, and so under-representative, is the recording quality and performance are both excellent. The mixing job that's been done is first class, and it's easy to tell the vinyl pressing of this is going to sound incredible, but perhaps that advantage is also the reason for the running time. If this were much longer it would not have fit on two sides of an LP, meaning a vinyl edition, which band and label clearly wanted to produce, would have to span two LPs, substantially increasing both the production costs and the retail price. Perhaps if this sells well they could be persuaded to release a second volume, but for the time being, although the bonus DVD of the show provides some additional value for money, there just isn't enough here to make this the landmark release it should have been for a band of their prestige.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2014, Hard/Heavy Rock, Live Albums, Quick.Play Reviews,

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