Hearing Aide: Leslie Mendelson ‘Love & Murder’

With so much noise going on in the world today due to technology, from cell phone beeps and rings to endless updates on various apps, it’s easy to get lost in the computer-strung clutter. The one enjoyment that can take an individual away from the murky shadows of continuous information overload is music. Sure, there are endless amounts of live shows available for streaming on the internet, but to really get to the raw simplicity of a note takes putting on the headphones and pressing play on the new album by singer Leslie Mendelson. Love & Murder is her first work released in eight years.

Mendelson’s latest album steps away from her earlier work and presents music in a simplistic form, featuring full-bodied folk tunes filled to the brim with emotional ebbs and flows. The ten track album begins with a darker emphasis, as “Jericho” slowly carries the listener into the overall theme. Stripping away the extras, and focusing on the vocals, lyrics, and calm melody, it’s easy to sit back and get lost in her angelic voice. “It’s been a long time coming,” lyrics within the opener, have never been more true, as fans have patiently been waiting eight years for this new album. It was well worth the wait.

An uncomplicated, piano heavy “Coney Island” takes listeners on an emotional whirlwind. Stringed instruments add to a heaviness surrounding the lyrics, while Mendelson’s vocals tear at the heartstrings. “Murder Me” continues the enigmatic vibe surrounding the album, as Mendelson’s voice, both mysterious and wispy, are charged with a heaviness tipping on sadness and loss.

As if sharing a personal moment with Mendelson, “Chasing The Thrill” has an air flowing around the lyrics, as well as the melody, with a reflective core gluing the song together. A haunting “Crazy” gently drifts along. Unhurried and light, this track sways in a musical breeze, allowing the listener to relax and fall within the grip of the beautiful winding notes.

An unexpected appearance on the album comes from the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, as he guests on the cover of Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou.” Weir originally discovered her as she performed her own twist on “Friend of the Devil,” and has since invited her to join him during performances. Their intertwined vocals throughout this song make for an affectionately graceful rendition that Orbison would be proud to hear.

An effortless “Love You Tonight” rolls along at a confident pace, turning the corner away from the darker tones. Bright lyrics embody the upbeat notes, lifting spirits as the album progresses, without losing the overall feel of the simplistic mood. Maintaining hopeful enthusiasm, another cover takes hold, this time with a tip of the hat to Bob Dylan. A gorgeous rendition of “Just Like A Woman” is carried by the simple strums of the ukulele, with touches of guitar and harmonizing vocals gently sprinkled in to round out the effortless track.

“The Circus Is Coming To Town” carries a mystical energy, surrounded by mystery and uncharted vibes, throwing the listener into a dusky trip under the big top. The album ends with a cover of the 1954 country classic “Cry, Cry Darling,” originally written by Jimmy Newman and Jimmy Miller.

Love & Murder flows freely. It’s stocked with raw simplicity and no holds barred emotion. Take a trip away from technology with this beautiful album filled with heartfelt tracks, deep with fearless tenderness. The natural flow from track to track will take the listener on a ride reaching into the depths of one’s soul, making sure to pay attention to each note and lyric, without getting lost in the noise.

For more information about Leslie Mendelson and her new album, Love & Murder, please visit her official website.

Key Tracks: Jericho. Love You Tonight. Cry, Cry Darling