Alone Aboard the Ark
Recorded at North London's Konk Studios—run by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, who's been a longtime fan of The Leisure Society—Alone Aboard the Ark is the sound of a group in transition. (And one that has the fortune to be recorded on analog two-inch tape and a '70s mixing desk.) The band's at its best when it's subdued; there isn't a song as deserving of its somber spirit as the Sylvia Plath suicide–inspired "The Sober Scent of Paper." There, the whimsy of the group's London Olympics silliness on "Fight for Everyone" is quickly forgotten. Singer/songwriter Nick Hemming surely has the talents to capture this vintage vibe, and songs like "Another Sunday Psalm," "A Softer Voice Takes Longer Hearing," and the slowly blooming "We Go Together" all illustrate a British writer never shy about where he dreams of being and of where he belongs.