Impossibly handsome Canadian singer songwriter LeRiche has somehow found his way to us here at RGM and we’re very glad he did, as his debut EP is a rather nice thing. He made an appearance at The Great Escape festival earlier in the year and now the seven-song X-Dreamer is out in the UK on Fierce Panda. The EP is a curious mix of acoustically driven songs, beats and pop-smoothness with flawless production values. Think (if you can) Kings of Convenience meets George Michael via Noah & The Whale.
Opener ‘Nomadic Heart’ has the intimate warmth of folk favourite Fionn Regan coupled with the energy and pop arrangement of a Coldplay mega-hit. This sounds as if it could never work, but somehow it really does. Current single ‘River Runs’ recalls the bounce and vocal flourishes of The Feeling and is followed by ‘Under Covers’, the stunning video for which has earned LeRiche some serious YouTube hittage, and deservedly so. ‘Come Around’ is the most overtly pop thing on offer; it’s all modern gated drums, bleeps and big vocals while, in contrast, ‘Dreamers’ is driven by a delicately picked clean guitar part, gently shuffling drums, hazy strings and piano. Extolling the virtues of daydreaming, its sonic otherworldliness is a perfect thematic fit.
‘Roam’ is afforded a bit more space with acoustic guitar at its core and allows the full breadth of LeRiche’s perfectly cracking voice to come forward. It put me in mind of the terrific Iain Archer, marrying traditional tenderness with a modern production sensibility. Stripping things right back to voice and guitar, ‘Briefcase Full Of Booze’ with its recorded-in-a-toilet-on-purpose vibe closes proceedings. The track quirkily crumbles into a distorted mess but shows that when you take away all that lush production, LeRiche is, at heart, a singer-songwriter. With X-Dreamer he’s been brave enough to try to set himself apart from the legions of mopey guys-with-guitars and do things a little differently. As a result, this EP is more interesting than most and makes me think that LeRiche is definitely one to watch.