Leatherbag – Yellow Television + Patience

January 01, 1970





Leatherbag has long flown the flag for simple rock & roll – not dumbed down
sounds, mind you, but rock stripped down to its essence. Hooks, melody,
percussive lyrics, direct emotion, direct action – these are things bandleader Randy Reynolds
treasures. The band’s latest LP Yellow
makes the most of these basic virtues, relying on the quality of
the songs and the performances to push the band to the next level, rather than
gimmicks or fripperies (outside of guest Craig Johnson’s skronking sax). The
snarky fireball “Imitation Generation” and the folky ballad “Sparrow Blues”
represent the opposite extremes found here, but the heart of the album resides
in ridiculously catchy pop ‘n’ roll like “Falling Down Again,” “Waxing
Nostalgic” and the anthemic “Yanni.” Just try not to jump around playing air
guitar during the brisk “Modern World” – it’s two-and-a-half minutes of
everything good about rock & roll. It may not be meant that way, but the
final cut expresses the driving sentiment of Yellow Television: “Sincerity.”


In the time between the recording of Yellow Television and its release, Leatherbag pared down from a
quartet to a trio. The seven songs on Patience were recorded quickly and cheaply, with the lack of (relative) polish immediately
setting the tracks apart conceptually from those on the main album. Even with
the stark production veneer, however, these songs represent a departure. While the
brooding “So Misunderstood,” the singalong “Poor Misguided Boy” (sure to become
a new concert staple) and the gentle title tune are quintessential Leatherbag,
the more fractured song structures of the widescreen “No Future” and the
defiant “We’re Broke” represent more experimental urges. Perhaps indicative of
the trio’s wide open outlook is the EP’s lone cover tune – not only is it
highly unusual for Leatherbag to play someone else’s song, but it’s “Radiation
Squirm,” a gem in the catalog of the Judys, Houston’s long-gone masters of new
wave quirk. Not as masterful as Yellow
, the fast ‘n’ loose Patience is a perfect compliment.


DOWNLOAD: Yellow Television (8 stars): “Falling
Down Again,” “Modern World,” “Yanni”; Patience (7 stars): “Poor Misguided Boy,” “No Future,” “Radiation Squirm,” MICHAEL

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