Going by his previous work, Kiran Leonard doesn’t strike you as the type to spell out his inspirations. However, ‘Could She Still Draw Back?’, the latest single from 21 year old Mancunian, comes complete with a line-drawing of famed Irish modernist James Joyce on its cover, above a short blurb about the song’s inspiration, Joyce’s short story ‘Eveline’. Published in the anthology, Dubliners, ‘Eveline’ deals with the tension felt by a young Irish woman, torn between a deathbed promise to her mother to look after the family-home and an elopement to Argentina.
Predominantly a slow-burning piano-led ballad, ‘Could She Still Draw Back?’ stays pretty firmly in that territory, with its verses backed by melancholic strings, followed by a slight turn into spine-tingling, mournful vocal in its chorus. The strings are no mere dressing though, evoking the push and pull between home and afar, whilst nodding to the setting of ‘Eveline’ in Ireland.
Whilst it may lack the frenetic sense of chaos found in Grapefruit’s epic single ‘Pink Fruit’, it perhaps has a greater and less-immediately apparent depth. In choosing a simpler approach with ‘Could She Still Draw Back?’, Leonard seems to be taking the opposite path to Joyce – even though, in the accompanying press release, Kiran admits to never having read the infamously impenetrable Ulysses.
‘Could She Still Draw Back?’ is taken from Leonard’s forthcoming album, Derevaun Seraun, an album of five ‘movements’ that explore the singer’s reaction to different pieces of literature. As Kiran says: ‘This is a piece about five books that I like and why I like them’. With the other pieces on the album taking their inspiration from works by Albert Camus and Henry Miller, he clearly has no fear taking on literary heavyweights. And, whilst it’s hard to imagine him coming out with a radio-friendly unit-shifter anytime soon, tracks like the striking ‘Could She Still Draw Back?’ promise great things for Leonard’s own artistry.
Derevaun Seraun, the upcoming album from Kiran Leonard, is out 15 September on Moshi Moshi. And you can catch Kiran Leonard on a special run of live dates with a string trio next month:
19 September – Wolverhampton, Newhampton Arts Centre TICKETS
20 September – London, St. Pancras Old Church* 7PM PERFORMANCE TICKETS / 9PM PERFORMANCE TICKETS
21 September – Oxford, St Barnabas Church TICKETS
23 September – Manchester, Band On The Wall TICKETS
25 September – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club TICKETS