Contrary to the linear notes of Leaf, which state the recording process continued from the end of one calendar year to the commencement of the next, this record was completed in a single afternoon. More specifically, it was completed at that precise moment where the sun, with a noose tightly wound around it's neck, stands on it's tippiest of all it's tippy toes, holding itself abreast from the inevitable closing grip of death for just a few seconds longer.
Leaf is a record documenting that fleeting moment of hope. A smaller flicker in the eye of a true optimist, the down-and-out battler struggling to pick themselves up off the ground after a brutal 48-hour shift at the local emergency room and/or that one person you know that mutters "well, things can't get any worse" on at least a fortnightly basis. Six or half-a-dozen. And the first six here are near-perfect, all bright and warm and loaded with life. Opener, Straight To Hell, glowingly harmonises about eternal damnation in the armpits of Satan, yet optimistically turns the other cheek and catches itself a lovely half-face tan. Another Day picks up this same disregard for government-sponsored advertorials about the dangers of sun exposure, tearing the top off the convertible rental and cruising off for one last celebratory second in the general direction of unexpectedly high UV-ratings of that sunset, punching a cone and the sky in unison. And then, all greened-out and with a severely torn rotator cuff, we're slapped with a fat waft of Pink Mist — a comforting cuddle from your most treasured, deceased loved one.
The back half doesn't fare quite as well. Apart from the bleakful and faultless, Alone, the single moment of sanguine that's stretched out across the complete first side of the record begins to lose it's grip. Boredom (Empty Lanes), an awkward tightening (Leaf) and an unwelcome swaggering confidence (Petrified) slip into that now-fleeting instance, diluting the insecure and wide-eyed aspirations of the record's prevailing personality.
But this somewhat unceremonious conclusion is a required dose of factual fidelity, giving the record's well-constructed warmth a darker, contrasting perspective. A reality check, of sorts. Life isn't peachy, despite the well-intended parables of the nu-metal generation. Sometimes it's boring, refined, adversely distracted by structure and dragged down predictable paths. Yet these elements are servants to the record's prominent perspective — that almost blinding glow of optimism — which, as you conclude the secondary side and flip over for a replay, are re-injected with an even heavier dose of detachment.