No stranger to music, Kaleido grew up in a musical household. Her father Top Topham was the original lead guitarist in The Yardbirds and was signed to Mike Vernon’s Blue Horizon record label as a solo artist.
“This album was recorded during very strange times but in fact, those in-between lockdown studio sessions turned out to be a godsend. Working with Mark Gardener, who understood exactly what my tracks needed, gave me the confidence to focus on my vocals and lyrics, and not to throw the kitchen sink at every song. He’s an amazing producer and his attention to capturing the ambient sound in the room as well as the instruments is something that sets him apart from anyone else I’ve worked with,” says Léanie Kaleido.
On this long-play, Kaleido plays lyrically astute, laid-back pop, piano-based ballads with the odd quirky guitar ditty thrown in, showcasing Léanie’s eccentric look at life. This new release will thrill Léanie’s existing fans, giving them lashings of melancholia, but peppered with that ever-present tongue-in-cheek commentary that tells you she never has and never will take herself – or anyone else – seriously.
But this third album also cements her as a consistently accomplished songwriter, unbound by the notion of what is ‘cool’ as she sits back and enjoys the thrill of writing unabashedly from the soul.
Léanie, who grew up “snogging posters of Ride and wanting to be PJ Harvey”, has, over time, settled into the acceptance that her songs just come out the way they do. “Not especially cool”, she says, “but I’m really proud of some of my lyrics. Getting ‘salient verities’ into a song gave me a lot of satisfaction! Now Mark is a really good mate who knows what works best for my songs. And he has the best selection of green tea. I’m now a loose-leaf connoisseur, thanks to him!”
Kaleido’s 50th year went off with a bang thanks to Gardener’s open-armed invitation to record at his Oxford studio. After four or five sessions throughout the less locked-down parts of 2020, and ten songs later, an album was born.
“The songs on this album represent the highs and lows I’ve encountered over the past few years, how I’ve dealt with them and what I’ve learnt through the process. It’s a mixture of love, regret, philosophies, humour and hope. I’ve always been a late developer, and so this to me feels like a coming-of-age album,” says Léanie Kaleido.