Jake & the Leprechauns Jake & the Leprechauns

Sherbrooke, QC has yielded a pleasant surprise in Jake & the Leprechauns, a sophisticated folk rock combo that have written a polished but spirited debut. Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalists C-Antoine Gosselin and Philippe Custeau, this record is alternately harrowing and hopeful, with waves of experimental, ghostly country music crashing up against the vivid lyricism. With its references to Will Oldham and Richard Buckner, Gosselin’s voice is captivating, deftly moving between gentle cooing and brash power, depending on what each malleable arrangement calls for. "Georgia Line” is a lovely folk song reminiscent of a forceful Great Lake Swimmers tune, featuring gorgeous pedal steel guitar by guest Bob Egan. "Caveat Emptor” is a headily written ballad that builds to an infectious romp, while "Concentric Circles” is a sturdy, well-paced rocker. Such tunes might be the key to figuring out Jake & the Leprechauns, who manage to write fragile songs wrought with emotion without coming across as delicate. On the contrary, there is conviction behind every utterance and note here, which is rare to hear on a band’s first album, making Jake & the Leprechauns an extraordinary find. (Independent)