Delightful yet purposeful, “Leslie” is a short shot of reverby/jangly power-poppy garage rock, or maybe garage-rocky power pop. This one stomps along with the complex buoyancy of any somber tale told to a toe-tapping beat and sing-songy melody; the song’s narrator is talking to his father’s wife (
not, clearly, his own mother and yes it is about his own mother, my mistake; misunderstood the lyrics), formerly and maybe still currently a drug addict. The story’s curious, even random-seeming specificity is an intermittent indie-rock songwriting trait that can either intrigue or irritate, depending entirely on the strength of the music. A lot of times—as here—you can’t really follow the lyrics anyway; when the music is this melodic and insistent, if the lyrics are more sound than story, there’s no loss to the listener, from my point of view. It’s enough for phrases to emerge—in this case, the song coheres nicely around the chorus’s poignant line: “Feels like I’m watching you but no one’s watching me.” Or at least I think it’s the chorus, in that it sounds like a chorus musically, and yet we only hear it once. I’m assuming if the song were any longer than 2:26 we would have heard it again.
Gross Ghost is a band based in Durham, North Carolina. While details are sketchy, they appear to have started life as the duo of guitarist Mike Dillon and bassist William “Tre” Acklen, but at this point their Facebook page lists four members. The debut Gross Ghost album, Brer Rabbit, was released back in March on the Chapel Hill label Grip Tapes; a second vinyl pressing will be shipping next month. In the meantime, the band has since signed with Odessa Records, also based in Chapel Hill, which plans to release the follow-up album this coming spring. Thanks to the MP3 blog Faronheit for the head’s up.