On a chilly night in Sydney, Goodgod Small Cub set the scene for the launch of I Know Leopard’s debut EP, Illumina. The unsigned indie-pop fivesome stirred their hypnotic harmonies, samplers and violins into a velvet mix that tastes like one of Sydney’s most talented up-and-coming bands.
North Arm opened up with their indie-alternative set, which lies somewhere in-between rock and pop. ‘All the Wiser’ featured an ever-so-slightly fuzzed melodic guitar solo and a unique vocal timbre.
As people arrived, a crew assembled and set up a backdrop of fairy lights to suit the dreamy tunes. The anticipation was growing as the crowd grew in equal measure.
The four men and single female that make up the ensemble graced the stage with a quick, “Happy long weekend!” Some dizzy electric guitar looped, and then a backing track kicked the set into the recognisable ‘She.’ The song was sung in tandem with the male and female leads in complete harmony. It created an air of regretful optimism as they intertwined lyrics like, “She is all I have!”
It seemed that the evening was keeping within an ethereal zone, until the song ‘Sunsets’ was introduced. The drummer upped the pace with a syncopated rhythm, heavy on the hats. The dynamics built off a subtle bass riff that underlays the whole track, until the song breaks down to just tambourine, violin and vocals as they repeat, “She waited ‘til the sunset” – it was refreshing to see the group build off a single tambourine.
Immediately following ‘Sunsets,’ they rolled into the notable ‘Daisy Eyes.’ This is the song that most encompasses I Know Leopard. It features the common thread of harmonies and breakdowns that all their songs share, but with another level of catchiness. If they stick to this formula, they could easily crack the better half of Triple J’s Hottest 100.
The 50-minute set closed with ‘Hold This Tight,’ a song that should be on your next breakup mixtape. It left the crowd wanting more, but at the same time at peace that the show had finished and they had seen something worthwhile. I Know Leopard’s atmosphere drips with heart felt authenticity in a time where so few bands do.