Feature by Ellie Garno
Southern California is the setting of many songs. (Hearing it mentioned makes me nostalgic for the Laguna Beach, Blink-182-obsessed youth I never had.) If you have ever been there, you probably get why. The place really is beautiful—and so, so sunny. “Leo Carrillo,” by Australian indie rock folk act led by singer-songwriter Ben Blondel Death and a Cure, is yet another addition to the canon. Named after the California State Park its lyrics reference, “Leo Carrillo” is the latest off Red Night Sky released by Bleed 101 Records, which follows LP Oceans, Lovers and Empires, EP Death and a Cure as well as singles “The Endless Escape” and “The Spin You’ve Got Me In”.
Blondel wrote “Leo Carrillo” during a long distance relationship that actually eventuated in marriage. “I wanted to create a song that could transport me to that place before it was a reality,” recalls Blondel (i.e. “I will see you in your white dress/ring on your finger and curls in your hair/in the California sun”). As you may have guessed, the result sounds happy and hopeful. This narrative style is also translated into folk. Death and Cure utilizes the acoustic guitar, syncopated handclapping, and harmonic background vocals, a la The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This, along with the voice of Blondel makes for a postmodern folk-pop fusion.