Five years after the release of Gorgeous Johnny The Skygreen Leopards are back with Family Crimes, their first album on the Woodsist label. As if by way of apology for the time taken to make a return it contains a pretty impressive tally of 14 tracks.
Dreamy, folky and nicely rough around the edges with it Donovan Quinn and Glenn Donaldson, along with producer Jason Quever and Jasmyn Wong and Marcantonio, recorded the whole thing straight to tape and administered as little polish afterwards as possible. From that the listener is rewarded with 30 minutes worth of natural, one-take sounding songs that form a very pleasing whole.
More down-home and with less flash than label-mates Woods there is nonetheless a softly psychedelic element to songs such as 'Josephine' and the entire-life-in-a-nutshell enjoyment that is 'Selling T-Shirts'. Elsewhere on the album there's the blissful enjoyment of 'Suburban Bibles' with it's kids' tv theme-like organ solos along with the rather more urgent 'Reno Wedding', recounting the lead up to the event with "the water bed and smoke ring halos/that faded before they ever reached our heads".
Summery americana has rarely sounded so good in the last few years, other than from the likes of Kelley Stoltz bringing out good works, and The Skygreen Leopards have thankfully managed to make an album at once redolent of both drives into the sunset and after-dinner intimacy with a drinks and a few friends on the beach.
An accomplished and enjoyable return to the fray for the band then and one that should rightly lead to deserved trawls through their back catalogue by fans arriving new to the quality material they consistently produce.
Family Crimes is released on July 8 and available from amazon and iTunes.