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Album Review: Leni Ward – Hope

3 min read

Leni Ward has been making waves on the UK music scene over the past few months with the release of the singers debut single I Want My Heart Back getting some significant radio play and launching the songbird into a life of promotion and touring leading up to the release of the singles parent record, Hope, which saw its release on the 15th November.

LeniWardHopeHope is a record close to the singers heart. Inspired by and written after the break up of a seven year relationship, Hope is an album soaked in melancholy as well as high spirited optimism.

A pulsating electro-beat begins the record as the opening One Last Time With You introduces the singer with a whispery start to Hope. The track is simple yet effective with non rhyming verses paired perfectly with a minimalistic instrumentation that is gentle and tender.

I Want My Heart Back was chosen by Ward to introduce us to the rising star. The track is laced with a billowing harp and a vigorous synth backing while Ward swings through the track with flawless vocal precision, mixing syrupy textures and combining gentle verses with a revved up chorus making the track the most memorable inclusion on the album.

The record is simple in its makeup and sounds very similar to the work of Swedish pop songbird, Helena Josefsson. As a fan of Josefsson I had to remind myself that it was a Ward record with its similarities so close and easily comparable both lyrically and musically.

With the subjects of love, heartbreak and self identification running wild throughout Hope, Ward relies heavily on sugary sweet vocals on each of the eleven pop pearls. Though there are no moments of the singer letting loose on the record and belting out a possible chart topper, the track-listing of Hope does show off the singers genuine vocal talents and ability to write some decent tracks.

The album is given a dark edge with one of the standout tracks, The Watcher. A dainty, synth heavy ballad, the track is spooky and slightly menacing with lines like “Everywhere I go I see your face in front of me – Never would have though that you would be the end of me”. The addition gives the album some disparity around the majority of sweet, love soaked ballads.

The gorgeous a capella I Will Rise follows and is the perfect centrepiece where Ward casts aside musical accompaniment for solitary vocal harmonies showing that the singer is drenched in genuinely emotive vocal talent.

Drum machines and eighties, electro-tinged synths are present from start to end on the album giving a nostalgic splashing on the fantastic debut for the songstress.

Hope is a fantastic record however I think that the debut would have had some chart potential or been given a little more exposure if there were at least a couple of more upbeat and energetic numbers present. The album generally follows a singular pattern of sombre and love loaded balladry singing stories of love lost and love gained with a synth showing constant face over 40 minutes of glossy pop. This isn’t at all a bad thing however the lack of diversity is a noticeable factor.

Buy ‘Leni Ward – Hope’ from Amazon