“Best listened to in a wood – panelled room with massive ear phones and a neat scotch.” It is rarely a singer is so introspective about his own work but Grand Pocket Orchestra singer Paddy Hanna’s statement about his solo debut could not be more accurate. Hanna invites us in to his world straight from the get go with ‘Rosslare Tapes’, an ode to small town life. Hanna may not be exactly crying “in to his microphone” in this album but his intimate vocal style makes us feel he’s letting us in on a secret no one else knows.
‘Join The Army’ has a laid back, California sounds meets New York cool and it’s hard to believe this track was born and raised in Ireland. What makes Hanna so unique is his ability to change his voice dramatically. On ‘Mind’s Wearing Make Up’ his vocals possess a pseudo confidence reminiscent of Patrick Wolf, while title track ‘Leafy Stiletto’ shows off his falsetto talents. Halfway through, ‘Heaven of Heavens’ sounds like early Lou Reed, which nestles itself perfectly among the folk – pop tracks. Standout track ‘I’ve Been On This Pier Too Long’ is the most boisterous song on offer, with booming guitars and a catchy hook.
Closer ‘Mud’ comes across as a parody of a love song, with Hanna’s voice reaching such a deep, slow drawl it’s as if he is mocking the ‘depressed singer jilted and alone’ formula that has served other songwriters well. It is a strange note to leave the album on, but with an album so interchangeable it’s hardly surprising. Running just shy of the 34 minute mark, Leafy Stilleto offers a vast variety of indie gems all unique and loveable in their own right. Hanna set out to make a record of warmth and vocals, wit and song writing ability it is hard to walk away feeling anything else.