LeBlanc – This Is Me

This Is Me

LeBlanc is lead by Austin, Texas native Mandi LeBlanc and even though she now calls Brooklyn her home, she can’t escape her Texan roots. Her indie pop influences blend with country to create the smoky blend of music heard on her 6-track debut EP, This Is Me.

The handful of songs starts out with the fuzzed out burst of energy of “Cute Boyfriend”, where LeBlanc’s voice is totally hidden behind the thick wall of reverb. It’s kind of like when I heard the debut album from Muse and the whole time just kept wondering what they actually sounded like without all that noise mucking up the songs.

“This Is Me” sheds the deafening blanket of noise to reveal LeBlanc’s true pipes. She displays an interesting combination of southern whininess and upbeat New York–style pop. She slides from high-pitched squealing down to low whispers and the mood of the song fits perfectly with the line “I’m on a rampage”.

The mood downshifts to “Subway Love” with the dreamy optimism of a possible love at first sighting. Her melodic cry floats over the acoustic layers for a sweet, angelic mood that will have anyone thinking about that person who caught their eye in a public setting and perhaps the what ifs that abound.

As the tracks progress, LeBlanc’s sound begins to reveal itself with the highs, the lows and the secret softness in between. From relatable to noisy, the element that pulls it all together is the voice. While at times Mandi’s voice may sound a bit forced it definitely has a unique style that is whiny yet enjoyable. In “Be With You” it feels as though the band has really hit its stride in terms of a perfect blend of east coast style and southwestern rock. Mandi’s singing style even sounds more at ease. The sound of the double-tracked vocals is almost sinister and is a sound that really works. There is a hint of Santana-style guitar in the background that luckily just adds points of interest rather than trying to steal the entire show. This is by far the best track on the album.

Unfortunately, “Met A Boy” follows with vocals that try way too hard. It sounds more like someone with a good voice running around their living room with a broomstick doing over-the-top vocals as if putting on a show and just plain being silly. But in that respect, it is perhaps telling of how she feels having this new love in her life. The album ends with “Fire Alarm” that is a flurry of drums, driving electric guitar and LeBlanc singing in probably the least appealing way, aside from in the almost non-discernible “Cute Boyfriend”.

True to the nature of a debut the album is rough around the edges and could even use a bit more work in the mixing room. However, “Subway Love” and “Be With You” deliver in a way that make LeBlanc interesting and provide a bit of hope for a follow-up.