This debut album from Sydney boys Aunty Richard shows a lot of promise. Saxophonist Joel Woolf takes centre stage, with drummer Tim Firth and bassist Ben Rodgers doing more than just holding their own. From opener Curve’s smooth grooves to the thudding beats of the title track, Leaf Blower shows strong musicality, moving confidently between jazz, rock and funk.
The atmosphere is one of a live show, which has its advantages and disadvantages – it’s enthusiastic, but occasionally suggests a jam session rather than a cohesive musical work. The sound remains fairly steady, but the album does have a sense of narrative to it; as the listener moves from the frenzy of the opening tracks to the smoother sounds of closer Out On The Plane, the sound matures. The show-pony antics drop away, leaving a sense of space, and of a band relaxing into themselves.
Leaf Blower, though engaging, suffers from the curse of many instrumental albums – for some listeners, the lack of delineated pop structure may relegate Aunty Richard to Starbucks background music. If jazz is what you’re into, you could do worse than Leaf Blower; the boys really do know what they’re doing. If you’re new to the genre, it might keep you entertained long enough to collect your grande hazelnut latte.