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Album of the the Week: Leoparden – Stilen er Svimmel

Dressed in faux fur and riding on a wave Funk, Leoparden arrives at his first full length LP, “Stilen er Svimmel” in Oslo. The LP follows the well-received “Boliglån” appearing on 7″ earlier this year, accompanied by six more tracks of the same funkadelic Boogie tracks as the second release from the label that brought us Flammer Danse Band, Lyskestrekk Records. The Hausmania collective and record label have cemented their sound on the latest release, with Leoparden bearing striking similarities to Flammer and the sonic aesthetic they pursue, but with a very distinctive mirrorball glint striking through Leoparden’s record.

Effervescent percussive jaunts snake their way through bubbling keys and raspy guitars, traversing elements of Funk, Disco, Afro and Boogie through effortless progressions, carrying Leoparden’s voice through the murky timbres of the music. Tracks built on the transient nature of repetition, languish on a theme, latching on to the rhythm of the dance floor. “Er på gulven” intones Leopraden on “Total Disko” and that is what this record is all about; getting on to the dance floor and staying there. Leopraden bridges the floor through his subtle vocal leanings and lyrics that cultivate a party flavour, with that unique sense of self-deprecating humour we saw on the video for Boliglån.

Forget your mortgage and just chill he says on the lead single and opening track of the LP, and while there is some subjective and latent questions about living in a capitalist system to be garnered from those lyrics — especially considering the context in which these records were records, Hausmania – you get the sense that Leopraden is even trying to exorcise the listener of these thoughts through the LP. It’s at it most effective on a track like “Rist Skjelettet” where lyrics and music work together in complete hedonist abandonment.

There are a lot of similarities to the first Lyskestrekk record and Flammer, especially on “Vente Lenge” with its evocative Fela Kuti charm and certainly plays on a very distinctive sound for the label. The distinctive reverb on the lead vocal, the gritty aesthetic and the progressive forms of the songs all expound on that seventies African fusion sound, with a very  pragmatic Norwegian approach, where little extemporisation is expected and themes vary little from their crux, embedding charming motives and infectious rhythms in the listeners. If you’re not dancing by the end of the record you’re not listening to it right.