IMAGES: To download, click above. Photo credit to Mya Tolliver.


Refresh Records
Apple Music

Leisure Hour

Refresh Records

“Everyone you love will end up dead,” Isaiah Neal sings on “Ivy Tech,” the second track from Leisure Hour’s upcoming The Sunny Side. It’s a matter-of-fact lyrics delivered in a matter-of-fact way––but a second later, Grace Dudas and Raegan Gordon join in to harmonize on a booming “whoa-oh-oh-oh” chorus. In the span of about three seconds, Leisure Hour’s whole ethos becomes clear. The Sunny Side is the result of years of writing and recording, the culmination of a half-decade of lineup changes; by now, Leisure Hour’s reached their final form: bassist/vocalist Dudas, guitarist/vocalist Neal, and drummer/vocalist Gordon.

The Sunny Side, according to the band, is about “love, loss, and struggle with mental health as a middle class individual,” and maybe it was a case of life mimicking art. The three of them struggled to come up with enough money to record and produce these songs the way they envisioned; they picked up extra shifts at their jobs and, in true DIY fashion, decided to throw as many music festivals as they could to drum up enough cash to bring these songs to life, and “the community around us rallied together to make this album happen, and for that we are eternally grateful.”

That gratitude is the driving force behind The Sunny Side. The eleven songs that comprise the record are built on shaky hopes and the anticipation of disappointment, but along with that comes a teeth-gritting resilience and a hard-won appreciation for those small victories. “I can’t forgive you,” Dudas sings at the end of “Forgiveness,” but she follows it quickly with “But I’m trying to,” and then she repeats it over and over. Maybe she’s just trying to convince herself, but it’s the effort that matters. Leisure Hour won’t stop looking on the sunny side anytime soon, and they’re trying their damnedest to convince you to do the same.