Hail to the Queen
(Fussy, 2004)

Leerone, an independent singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, released her second EP, Hail to the Queen in 2004. If you are familiar with Milla Jovovich -- model, actress (The Fifth Element), singer (The Divine Comedy) -- please let her know Leerone has stolen her vocal cords and song-writing capabilities. At a minimum, Leerone has cloned Milla. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then this EP is high praise indeed.

Leerone was born in Israel, but moved to America when she was still a baby. She spent her school years in Los Angeles, but her summers in the Middle East. In the promotional material, Leerone claims that "having two homes makes you more open and critical of who you are, because you're more aware of the things that are shaping you."

Hail to the Queen is quite a departure from Leerone's first release. The musical style is very different. The similarities this time around to Milla are uncanny; if you heard this CD without seeing the cover, you might naively think Milla had released new music. Both singers have a lilting quality to their vocals, and the music in their songs tends to sound discordant at first, but there is something about it that draws you in. I could see how this style either turns you off completely or solidly grabs your attention. I don't think there is much middle ground.

Similar to the other tracks on this CD, "Catching Snowflakes" is dominated by the piano. Leerone calls the lyrics "whimsical." I think that is a nice way of describing them as weird. But I like the song, nonetheless. "I can't think of anything more painful. Crawl out my skin. Hide under the awning. Silent and patient, we become hunters. Moving in on our frightened prey. Moving in for the kill. ... Catching snowflakes on my tongue. Each one with a different name." You have to admit that this is a new perspective on an old, time-honored, childhood winter tradition.

If you like Milla, the singer, then you will like Hail to the Queen by Leerone. Leerone's songs are more simple since she does not have a backing band. If you are not familiar with Milla's singing (or Leerone's for that matter), then go check out Leerone's website to see what you think before you make a purchase. For me, the only issue I have with Hail to the Queen is that it is too short -- less than 20 minutes.

by Wil Owen
31 March 2007

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