Leave Land for Water are a new post rock band from Bristol, who develop and expand upon their abstract and intricate sound by also experimenting in other genres. They have just released their self-titled debut EP on a local label Sink and Stove Records, which has in the past released recordings by The Organ and The Playwrights. Each of the five tracks on it are framed around a set of hazy guitar chords from out of which, often several times in each song, other elements-jazz, electronica, psychedelia, folk and pop- all build and emerge.

Leave Land for Water formed in late 2003 and consists of Lucas (vocals and guitar), Ollie (lead guitar), Tim (keyboards, effects and vocals), Tom (bass) and Simon (drums/percussion). While all five members of the group, all of whom are in their early and mid 20’s, have played in other Bristol groups, only Lucas, who ran an acoustic electro solo project The Boy Lucas for several years, has had a previous recording career. He put out through Output Records, who also released early records by Four Tet and Fridge, both a 7” single ‘There are Great Monsters Going Past’ and a CD album ‘Out of the Wires’ in 2001.

“I had tried playing in various bands” Lucas recalls. “I had got frustrated though with the lack of commitment of some of the other people involved and decided to go and do my own thing. I sent out bits and pieces to labels, not really expecting much, and then Output got in touch with me and they were really into working with me and it went all from there.”

“In theory The Boy Lucas still exists” he adds. “There were complications with the label and I didn’t do a follow up with Output. There were offers to do other records with other labels, but I ended up devoting the time instead to being in Leave Land for Water.”

“Ultimately I enjoy recording and playing more with other people as it feels a lot more creative. I still do bits and bobs on my own though and I might end up putting out another record.”

Lucas has known Ollie and Tom since school, but the other two members of the group only more recently.

“I have been playing with Ollie off and on since we were at sixth form college together six years ago” he explains. “We have also known Tom since then. The other guys were friends that we met through friends. Funnily enough, after all the hassles I had had in the past when trying to form bands, it all came together quite quickly when we started looking for and recruiting people.”

Perhaps not surprisingly for a group with such a diverse and experimental sound, Leave Land for Water have a wide range of influences.

“Tom is really into Sonic Youth and Fugazi while Tim is a massive Boards of Canada and War fan” Lucas reflects. “ Simon is into the Madchester scene and the Stone Roses. Ollie and I perhaps have the most similar tastes and are both into guitar bands. Nirvana have been a big influence for a long time and more recently we have got into bands like Yo La Tengo. Radiohead, Slint and Mogwai are a collective inspiration. I was also a big fan of Fridge and Fourtet, and in fact that’s why I originally put those records out on the Output label.”

“I have always thought of it as lush” he says when asked to define his band’s sound. “There is a lot going on in each song. We have a very rich and full sound.”

The ‘Leave Land for Water EP’ includes ‘Dead Museum’, a tribute to the Beat author William Burroughs, and ‘The Cinders Spread’, which is about Lucas’ uncle who disappeared and went missing from home. There is also a dance remix of ‘Dead Museum’.

“I released a one off track ‘What Would, Could and Should Have Been’ as The Boy Lucas last year” Lucas says, explaining how the latter track came about. “It was one half of a split single on this Italian label called Disasters by Choice which is based in Rome. This guy, James Hoffmann, who records his own material under the moniker of King Seven was originally going to remix some of my own stuff for that label, but I wasn’t really up to doing any more of that so I invited him to remix some of the more current stuff that I was involved with. He was really interested and up for doing it, so that’s how we ended up doing that version of ‘Dead Museum’ as well. It has come out really well ”

With such a complex sound, it has not been easy transferring it to the stage. Leave Land for Water, however, usually play five or six gigs a month, and, as well as regular dates in London, have also played several short tours of the South West of England.

“It has been quite tricky” Lucas admits. “One of the problems that we have had in the past with our live work is not enough having clarity in our sound, but Tim now has a stage mixer with him when we are playing gigs, and we have these special boxes where he can affect the vocals on stage. Without our own sound man at the moment, it’s quite difficult to engage what it sounds like out front. It’s been quite hard transferring that to a live setting, but it’s coming on really well.”

“It’s been getting better and better with each gig” he concludes. “We are really pleased with the way it is going.”

As well as playing a lot of gigs, Leave Land for Water have been back in the studio and hard at work on a follow-up to the EP. They plan to release a second EP in the spring and a full album in the autumn. They are a group whom fans of experimental rock will hopefully be hearing and seeing much more of during the forthcoming year.

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