Single Review: Kieran Leonard and the Horses – Underwood Milk

By on Monday, 29th June 2015 at 12:00 pm

Kieran Leonard and the Horses - Underwood Milk single coverIt’s very important not to confuse Kieran Leonard, our subject here, with Kiran Leonard, his Mancunian almost-namesake. Five-letter Kiran is a precocious peddler of psych-beat in the grand Liverpool tradition yet to hit his twenties. Six-letter Kieran débuted in 2010 with ‘Jerusalem’, a spectacular 6-minute takedown of contemporary British foreign policy, sounding as if Damien Rice was born in Hampshire and a regular viewer of Question Time. He’s not been slack in the meantime, releasing 2012’s collection ‘Out Of Work Astronaut’, and he’s back right now with new single ‘Underwood Milk’ under the artist name Kieran Leonard and the Horses.

This time he’s left the acoustic guitar at home: in its acoustic-electric wall of guitars, parping Farfisa and slap-backed vocals, the vibe is early-’90s revivalist (join the queue) college rock, which matches his bleached Cobain hair and heart-shaped shades, but admirably Leonard manages to throw in some surrealist lyrics (“I dreamt I was being harassed by a very large cat in a surgical mask”), and of course the whole thing is a play on Dylan Thomas’ gently surreal 1954 drama Under Milk Wood. Quite a novel combination.

In a bid to acquire household-name status, Leonard supported The Strokes and Beck at last week’s Hyde Park gigs, and apparently has a roll call of famous friends for every occasion: choose between fragrant (Lana Del Rey), broken (Dave Grohl), grumpy (Ryan Adams) and pious (Father John Misty). The sweary B-side to ‘Underwood Milk’, ‘Holy Shit’, was recorded at the latter’s wedding, which shows just how well they get on. Given his literary pretensions, ability to vary his style, and biz connections, talents, the overused epithet ‘one to watch’ could easily be applied to Leonard. Catch him at the excellent Standon Calling Festival 2015 at the end of July.


‘Underwood Milk’, the new single from Kieran Leonard and his new act Kieran Leonard and the Horses, is out today on Fierce Panda Records. Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch on Leonard solo here.


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