Dominique Leone - Dominique Leone
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Dominique Leone
Dominique Leone

If you're a person who pays attention to the music reviews and writing that you read, the name Dominique Leone may be familiar to you. Up until last year sometime (when he released his EP on Feedelity Records), Leone was primarily known for being one of the best writers (in my opinion, anyway) at Pitchforkmedia; a critic whose reviews always seemed to expound upon the music they were about with a bit more of a deeper understanding than one normally gets.

His self-titled debut release is also the first record to be put out on the new Strømland Records label run by Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Smalltown Supersound founder Joakim Haugland. In keeping with his off-kilter debut, the eleven tracks and fifty minutes here sound like just about every facet of music from the past thirty years or so filtered through a sparkling, proggy prism that is insanely catchy at times and downright frustrating in others. "Nous Tombons Dans Elle" hits with a phased-out club beat and music boxes dancing over squelching synths as Leone adds his high-pitched vocals that range from croon to squeal. "Tension" and "Goodbye" are even more poppy, knocking back with almost instrumental hip-hop beats with loads of fuzz, but each one also has moments that veer off the beaten path (like when the former slips off into harpsichord-backed breakdowns where Leone sounds eerily like Andy Partridge of XTC).

Leone is at his best on songs like "Duyen," where all the disparate influences seem to slide together in a way that feels natural and unforced. Guitar, synths, bells, field recordings, and high-pitched vocals (with backing harmonies) somehow swirl together into a bizarre, but summery pop number that certainly defies expectations. In other places, such as the overly-long "The Return" and "Claire" (where a great song is sandblasted with an inexplicable passage of noise), tracks feel more like odd pastiches, with moments that are excellent offset by diversionary ones. Attention deficit pop music, it zooms from filtered classical samples to fuzzed-out 70s inspired rock (and a bunch of other styles) often at the drop of a hat. A release that certainly paints a vivid portrait of a mind that's trying to focus on about fifty different genres at once, this self-titled debut from Dominique Leone is intriguing, but also quite inconsistent.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2008-06-05 18:59:56