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New Zealand quintet Leisure blend a multitude of influences -- ranging from '70s funk, '90s trip-hop and downtempo, and 2000s electronic -- to create a slinky cool soundtrack for hip lounges and bedrooms alike. Emerging from Auckland in the mid-2010s, the band released their debut album, Leisure, in 2016. A critical and commercial success, they inked a deal with the Nettwerk label, which issued their follow-up, Twister, three years later. A thematic two-EP project was later combined to form 2021's Sunsetter, paving the road for Leisure's ambitious and engaging fourth album, Leisurevision, in 2023. Leisure was formed by Jaden Parkes (formerly of pop-punk band Goodnight Nurse) and Jordan Arts (formerly of pop duo Kids of 88), along with Tom Young, Djeisan Suskov, and Josh Fountain. Together, they released the debut single "Got It Bad" in 2015, followed by "Hot Love" and "Take It to the Top," a trio of seductive groovers that recalled the throwback spirits of Tame Impala and Mark Ronson. These songs landed on Leisure's self-titled debut, which arrived in 2016 and peaked at number two on the New Zealand charts. Signing with Nettwerk, the group then issued a string of singles, including 2017's "Alone Together" and "Money," and 2018's "Feeling Free" and "Falling." Injecting dance-friendly energy into their usual mix, the band delivered more singles in the front half of 2019, leading up to the July release of their sophomore album, Twister. Heading into the next decade, Leisure began a new phase with the slinky R&B-indebted Side A EP. Written during a trip to France, the five-song collection was thematically concerned with new beginnings, and they followed it in 2021 with its companion piece, Side B. Nettwerk combined the two EPs, and the band added a couple of extra tracks to create Sunsetter, their third album, released later that year. Coming out of the lockdowns of the early pandemic era, Leisure were inspired to write a new collection of songs that represented renewal, growth, and the chaos and joy of the human experience. Taking cues from blue-eyed soul, post-disco '80s, hip-hop beats, and myriad other styles, the band's vivid fourth album, Leisurevision, was released in September 2023.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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