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Adelaide’s Leader Cheetah have been the target of Neil Young comparisons since their debut album ‘The Sunspot Letters’ in 2008. Lead vocalist Daniel Crannitch has always admitted the influence and has an unmistakable vibrato which really comes to fore during live shows. For an alt-country, indie rock band with a love affair for Americana, I can’t think of anyone better than Neil Young to rip off. And it works really, really well!

When ‘The Sunspot Letters’ first got released, it ran my iPod out of more battery power than a whole slew of other releases. Fast forward to 2011 and the dreaded second album mountain has loomed. This month ‘Lotus Skies’ was released and I really didn’t want to be let down. Thankfully ‘Lotus Skies’ is great.

Clearly when Leader Cheetah first recorded their debut they were in ‘studio mode’. Seeing them live after the album was released didn’t exactly feel like what was on record. But now the band have produced an album much more inline with their identity and what they produce naturally on stage. This is a good thing. ‘Midnight Headlights’ is the sprawling opener, offering up a more sophisticated arrangement than we’ve heard before, combining strings into the mix.

You can catch Leader Cheetah touring the east coast til September, details here.

‘Lotus Skies’ @ iTunes from Spunk Records / EMI Australia (thanks LOZ! :))