Remember when you first heard music that truly mattered? It changed the way you listened to music and you just couldn’t understand or explain why. Neil Leyton’s third release, The Betrayal of Self, will no doubt change people’s musical perception; especially those who have been lied to by popular rock culture. The Betrayal of Self is full of 70’s rock aesthetics highlighted by unbridled passion and rebellion.
Lyrically, Leyton mixes up Betrayal with songs about passionate sex (“Pleasures for Ophelia”), the tragedy of longing for love (“Alone/Together”) and his strong political views on the plight of third world countries, warmongering, and the un-checked media. While some may not agree with Leyton’s political views, you can’t help but admire his honesty.
Overall, Leyton’s sound reminded me of a rougher-edged Ted Leo, an indie-rocker, but with a whole lot more groove and excitement. Part of that excitement is brought on by Leyton’s talented backing band, the Ghosts, who employ heavy-handed rock, highlighted by renegade organ player Ola Eklof, who manages to summon the spirit of Billy Preston on Betrayal.
Current favourite tracks include, “I Just Can’t Take Another Smile” which takes George Harrison’s “Taxman” one-step further by attacking huge retail chains. Also, I can’t help but compare “Done this One Before” to some of Keith Richards solo work, and “Darkness Falls” is the perfect closer with its solo acoustic guitar and sweet harmonica. Hopefully, in the near future Leyton’s soulful boogie rock will be selling out clubs and will be blasting from your local FM radio station, cause rock ‘n’ roll needs a Leyton makeover. (Fading Ways Music)