If it takes fourteen years to record an album, then one would normally assume some kind of Axl Rose-related story has been attached. Not so with Canada’s Christine Leakey who suffered an injury rendering her unable to play guitar; just as she was on the verge of securing recording deals. However, undeterred, her debut solo album is here and alerts us that a true individual walks amongst us.
‘Lovely’ is a very light pleasant slice of optimism to get us started but ‘Here I Stand’ is a greater showcase for the Leakey vocal. Her insouciant tones perfectly compliment the smoky jazz backing, producing the effect of a modern day Sade. Thereafter real songs merge with odd interludes which occasionally build up an atmosphere of a theatrical performance rather than an album. In fairness, that may be the point.
‘Tap Dancers’ is an undoubted highlight as Leakey trills her way against a charming guitar melody and the same can be said for the haunting ‘Miss Betty Grable’ and ‘The Day My Flower Died’. She even turns her hand to Bond theme confidence for ‘Shine My Tarnished Sheen’. Frustratingly, she loses her way slightly towards the end of the album courtesy of ‘Gloom Chime’s cabaret and the French-sung ‘Quand Tu Dors’ but on an hour long album, the odd slip is certainly excusable.
Bearing in mind the obstacles she has had to overcome, no one can deny Leakey deserves another shot at the big time. ‘Tapping Trees…’ is by turns brilliant, childlike, confusing and chilling but the invention and talent she demonstrates ensures that this is a wholly worthwhile and admirable comeback.