With his first official full-length release, “Fireplace”, he is likely to gain recognition and critical acclaim from many places. Especially for a debut album, it is well balanced and features several excellent songs.
The mellow, laidback feel of the album fits McLeod’s soothing vocals and his lyrics are accessible and relatable. With folky pop songs like Golden and the beautiful Walking In The Dark you hear the basis of this singer/songwriter whose style is similar to artists like Ben Howard, Ed Harcourt, Patrick Park and Joseph Arthur. I wouldn’t immediately compare The Boy.. to them, but just for a point of reference those fall into a similar musical category.
There’s a good balance between the more breezy tracks like Golden, Fireplace, I See You & Copper Down for example and more upbeat pop songs that are quite attractive to mainstream radio like Katy & Dreaming Like A Fool. While sometimes the songs are a little simple, that doesn’t make the album any less. McLeod puts the principle of less is more in practice on some tracks and I would argue it makes these tracks stronger instead of weaker. By keeping it simple on key moments he keeps the songs accessible and catchy. The best example of that may be lead single Katy.
The world is overcrowded with singer/songwriters trying to make a name for themselves. And while there is a lot of talent out there, even a lot of those talented musicians don’t stand out enough to break through. This may be a shame, but on the other hand, it wouldn’t be good for the music scene if only the same and similar would make it to the big stage. The Boy Who Trapped The Sun however does have something going for him. I won’t say that his music is totally new or there has never been anyone like him, but there is a sense of originality and freshness in his music and attitude that shines through on “Fireplace”. With key tracks like Golden, Katy, I See You, Thorn In Your Side & Copper Down, there is a lot of talented songwriting displayed on this album and McLeod knows how to deliver his songs with feeling and conviction. And to be honest, that is where it starts for a singer/songwriter.
“Fireplace” is a promise of talent, maybe even a promise of big things to come for McLeod, but he will have to keep at it and work hard to deliver on that promise. But for now I say chapeau for a job well done and some well-deserved attention for “Fireplace” as it is a more than solid debut that completely validates for The Boy Who Trapped The Sun to get a shot at breaking through to a bigger podium.