Anyone who has been following Chris Leyva's career for the past few years,knows how difficult it can be to keep track of what he's up to, both in a musical and literal sense. Prolific songwriter and a serial collaborator, Leyva has recorded with Phil Solemn ( The Rembrandts),had his last band (Blizzard) named by former Beatles compatriot Tony Sheridan and appeared on Reality TV,but even with all that under his belt,his latest album 27, comes as a major surprise. in truth
the disc is schizophrenic with lots of different sounds amongst the tracks. You get some of his more widely known indie rock, but whats's going to initially raise an eyebrow is his new foray into synth pop and dance music. Say what you will about Leyva, but this is a guy who takes risks.
The album boasts four producers: Soleil Kelley in New York,Walter Johnson in Dallas and Leyva himself, all solid efforts, with the work of producer and collaborator Chris Reynolds, best known for his work with electronica pioneers Red Flag,really setting the album appart from the pack.
Top track is easily Reynolds " Forever" wich recalls Red Flag at it's 80's best , the sort of synthesizer driven song that would have been played incessantly in dance clubs accross the country alongside the likes of Yazoo, Depeche Mode and Erasure.
Kelly's work accents Leyva's distinctive vocals, notably on disc closer " Night For Lovers," wich includes some intentional auto tune tracking as part of the songs hook, with heavy synth riffs working a bit of counter melody. Johnson's tracks include electronic elements, but are more organic, with acoustic guitar,percussion and electric bass as key components. Meanwhile , Reynolds contributes to six out of eleven tracks, with highlights including "Dirty Mouth" and "Ride", each one crafted as a dane floor filler, with harder edged synth sounds.
No doubt about it, Leyva has come up with his best work to date. 27 is an album so left field, it can only leave one wondering, " What will Leyva think up next?"
released August 8, 2008
Soleil Kelly - producer " New York"
Walter Johnson -producer " Texas"
Chris Leyva - artist / Producer / " Mexico City"
Chris Reynolds - producer / London
Chris Leyva was actually born in a small town outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. He arrived in San Diego as an eight-year-old. An
insatiable music fan, Leyva was soon hooked on the idea of rock \'n\' roll. He cites The Beatles, Nirvana, The Rembrandts as major influences .To date he has released seventeen albums. In 2003 he started up a music management agency Black Cherry Music Group....more