Following their incendiary 2022 debut album Fiesta, Bologna’s Leatherette deliver an even more provocative and sophisticated salvo with the follow-up, Small Talk. Emboldened by the acclaim won by Fiesta, Small Talk finds Leatherette breaking free of the post-punk straitjacket some were keen to strap them in, indulging both their love of wild noise and twisted pop.
The group produced the album at Bronson, recording the songs live – a lightning-in-a- bottle approach that managed to capture all the spontaneity and in-the-moment invention of the group’s wild live shows. The album is focused equally on the craft of their intense, unexpected songwriting and the energy and interplay of their scouring musicianship. That interplay is only stronger for the months the group spent touring Fiesta, bonding in the tourvan and developing the new influences and ideas that have guided Small Talk.
The album’s see-saw between angular noise and pop coherence is very much its strength, and very much the sonic identity of this singular group. “We love songs, pop, the verse/chorus/verse structure,” explains Jacopo. ”But we also love harsh sonorities, and when we write pop songs, often there comes a moment when we want to tear everything apart and break the rules. It’s this tension that pushes us to explore both the sides.
“I like the idea of ‘pop in disguise’,” nods Michele. “Because pop is often too cheesy, but experimental music tends to be unattractive, inaccessible and not so direct. We have an unspoken rule when we fuse pop and experimental music, that we must not create a monster. We might create some kind of Frankenstein if it goes too far!”
The album title hints at a concept linking these fierce, complex songs. “Small Talk is something we’re trying to get good at, and that we’ve always hated,” the groups say.
“This is an album about growing up, meeting new people, signing new papers and facing new challenges. We wanted to synthesize all the beautiful stuff, all the stressful stuff, all the embarrassing stuff in a melancholic, impudent and grotesque musical party.”
Listen to Small Talk and what’s for certain is this a band that won’t be contained. “After Fiesta, people tried to label us as some ‘classic post-pun’,” says bassist Marco Jespersen. “And we knew that could be dangerous for us, because we wanted to be free. We want to be unchained, we don’t want to be slaves to the box people have tried to put us in. And on this album, we did what we wanted to do.” The results speak for themselves, a smart, bold and focused thrill-ride that sounds like nothing else out there. Get up, get into it, get involved.