2009: The Round Up

#4. The Little Hands of Asphalt - Leap Years
(Spoon Train Audio/how is annie records, 2009)

A couple of things before I write about this album. Yes, The Little Hands of Asphalt main man, Sjur Lyseid, is a friend of mine. That doesn't mean that this album automatically had a place in this round up. If anything it had to be even more impressive than some of the others.

With that out of the way, who are these Little Hands of Asphalt? Well, sort of like Phosphorescent, The Little Hands of Asphalt is a one man band. A one man band with up to eight people on stage when they are playing live one would might mention. The band name comes from a Elvis Costello album called King of America and the band is kind of the sideproject for Monzano vocalist/guitarist Sjur Lyseid. Leap Years is the band's debut and what a debut. Almost every song on the album is a favourite. The sound range from acoustic folk, twang-like country and Springsteen-ish rock, but there is always a good pop-melody at the core of everything.

Pop-melodies and good lyrics are the backbone of this band. Both the first song "Oslo" and the Springsteen-ish "The Future" have been minor radio-favourites in Norway and certainly should have been hits. If I were to pick favourites among my favourites on this album I think I would go for the achingly beautiful "The Next Time We Meet" with the stunning harmonies from Marit Falkum Enerhaug. Espescially on the lines:

"So when we'll stumble under the street lamps
the broken glass will feel like diamonds 'neath my shoes,
just like last time."

Favourite number two is "Bait". A very bitter and stunning song and lyric.

"The deep water swallowed us and we talked until we got the bends about love in the modern world with the awkwardness of passing friends. Eventually I shrugged it off. Maybe that's how I feel? But you don't seem offended by the fact that I have kept you here as bait for something real."

My absolute favourite on the album is the song "A Few Words from Our Ten Nominees". This song makes me get all teary-eyed almost everytime I hear it. I don't really know for sure what does it for me, but I think it is the combination of the hauntingly beautiful melody and the lyrics. The last words in the song always leaves me with a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine. Not many songs has given me these feelings the last years. So this my friends is a classic.

"Though I know you're already immune to every decision I'll make. Both the good ones and the ones that'll turn out to be mistakes."

Leap Years, a fantastic album.

The Little Hands of Asphalt - The Future