Review: Leddie MC & Alex Bailey – Raise A Glass

Leddie MC and Alex Bailey have been long term collaborators for years. Alex, affectionately nicknamed Baz by their music-social-circle, has lurked in the background producing and engineering a number of Leddie’s past projects. Working miracles to make L&S’ Sorry We’re Late, Alex made it sound as though it was recorded professionally and not in the mattress-based DIY studio.

The Scarborough based polymath has also joined the Middlesbrough born bar-smith on stage for a few special gigs providing extra instrumentation and backing vocals. For Raise A Glass, Alex is officially credited as a co-creator. I apologise in advance for that reason, but I have always focused predominantly on lyricism.

For this review, I’ve written, re-written and written again. Fourteen days later, I’m back again determined to get this out. Leddie has caused a slight identity crisis for me as I’ve found myself torn between subjective fan and objective critic.

I’ve come to the realisation during the fifth draft of this review earlier today that I may have been overthinking things. There are some super minuscule flaws in this album, but at the basis I enjoy the album not even in spite of these negatives but in some cases because of them. Sound confusing? That’s why I scrapped the first four drafts.

As for the fifth? I scrapped that because it was much less a review but a stream of consciousness. A rant split between addressing my own indecisiveness and this album’s so-called flaws until I scanned the track-list and realised there isn’t a single original song that I dislike.

I’ll admit, I find myself disliking the Pursuit Of Happiness rework more and more each time I’ve heard it. This is a perfect example of its not broke don’t fix it. It was one of my favourite tracks on A Piece Of Cake. Its fitting that a rework of a remix is the albums biggest flaw even as I approach this review from more-so the subjective fan side of things, because the objective critic can’t ignore the repetition in this album.

As a fan of Leddie, I reckon I’ve heard just about every verse she’s ever released. As such, Raise A Glass doesn’t really provide much new. The wordings different, the musicality has evolved but I’ve heard many of the stories before.

Despite already knowing the tale of her becoming a solo act, I’ve Been On Fire remains my favourite song. Despite feeling like Why Oh Why and They Wanna Know are essentially the same song, I enjoy them both. As a music critic, I can be guilty of looking for flaws for the sake of it. If I want to, I can find them in any piece of music ever made.

The important thing is, do I enjoy it? And I absolutely do.

Even in my complaints about having heard it all before, I understand why Leddie might want to retell the stories. Not only is she reaching new audiences now, she has more tools available to her to recreate the imagery in higher definition. Hollywood pumps out remakes so often, we shouldn’t criticise artists when they do similar in their music.

Speaking of Hollywood, can we please get a video for Hunting The Hunter? I might have my issues with Yoshi Riot, but this track is a masterpiece of metaphors and storytelling in music.

To summarise, if you’ve never heard Leddie MC’s music before, I wholeheartedly recommend listening to Raise A Glass. For those familiar with her work, you should check it too. I think I just hold Leddie to a higher standard than most of her peers and thats on me. This is exactly what I should expect from Leddie, I was just hoping to be given a shock somewhere, and probably unfairly so.

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