Leverage Models' Experimental Pop Blossoms Into Glorious Synthpop on "Senators" (premiere)

Photo: Shervin Lainez / Courtesy of the artist

Leverage Models bring electronic textures, jazz inflections, and global rhythms to their infectious indie pop, all the while addressing potent cultural and political issues both personal and public.

When Shannon Fields disbanded his notable experimental rock ensemble Stars Like Fleas, he wanted to pursue a different life and a change of sound. Leaving Brooklyn, he decamped to the country and began developing his new music and assembled Leverage Models. This band builds on the experimental aesthetic that Fields has embraced for years, but Leverage Models go even farther, embracing electronic textures, jazz inflections, and global rhythms. There are no genres that can confine these restless and curious musical souls.

Leverage Models release their second album, Whites, on 26 October, and are donating 50% of the proceeds to the necessary work of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Working for a noble cause is part and parcel of Leverage Models as they explore heavy issues like abuse, poverty, and political apathy among others. Using a pop foundation, these songs impress with their tunefulness, ingenuity, and passion. The group's latest single is "Senators", and it's a rousing synthpop number that begins with a few subtle horn squeaks, gentle synths, and dreamy vocals before bursting into full-fledged sparkling anthemic number full of "orchestral" flourishes. Like OMD and the Beautiful South, Leverage Models wrap infectious melodies around serious lyrics and make memorable music in the process.

Fields says of the D. James Goodwin-directed video that it's "a collaboration, choreographed and performed by two Butoh dancers from Vangeline Theater. The song and video takes a slightly magical realist look at the way that political negotiations tend to be, beneath the rhetoric, simply about control over other bodies (those in power are not defined by their bodies, and those without power are...generally women, the undocumented, non-white bodies, etc...). This is more a poem about that then a polemical protest song, but I think that has power in its own way. The choreography acts out a sort of ritualized negotiation over other bodies, using bodies to speak, argue & transact. The lyrical voices in the song, on the other hand, speak in a kind of coded language of power. Although they are involved in a vague entanglement, they describe themselves and each other in terms of various non-human objects, as they jockey for control."

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