Alone Aboard the Ark
The Leisure Society
Full Time Hobby
Equally at home in a rural, blue-collar, cedar-planked Surrey pub as it is in a lively urban London ale house, the music of Britain's The Leisure Society hits all the notes of traditional and modern British folk music.
On the band's latest release, Alone Aboard the Ark, front man and primary songwriter Nick Hemming—formerly of She Talks to Angels— returns with songs thick in metaphor. The term "ditty" truly does apply to these tracks. Though the album's title hints at feeling lonely even among other people, for the most part, the album is full of the cheer typically associated with British congeniality.
Spry horns open against hand claps on the record's third track, "Fight for Everyone," a song full of zealous encouragement. On "Everybody Understands," jaunty guitar blankets Hemming's take on pursuing foolish obligations only to find the end result is not long-lasting.
Hemming cautions against craving material wealth with lyrics like: "What do you get for all the freewheeling? A pirouette in a castle of sand. Tried for the prize and unraveled in the blink of an eye," and "You've been given a role and everyone understands [..] with the money that you haul, you build another wall."
Throughout Alone Aboard the Ark, Hemming's tenor voice is full of comfort. The message of the music seems to be that whether in good times or in bad, it's always a good idea to raise a glass with friends and drink to something positive. In that way the album gives a response to its own title. People may feel alone, but they never really are.