Leska is Les Gordon and Douchka, a French duo. In the case of this song, "Curious," the pair also features the vocal work of José R. Fontao.
At its premise this song is an acceptance story about a guy who is worried about looking fake to his girl, she's so cute, after all. He thinks it's love, but it might not be to her. So he pleads with her, telling her that he sees his fault, he wants her validation.
There are mountains of songs about relationships, so is this another version of "Baby, Please Don't Go?" Not exactly.
What makes the song compelling is not necessarily its topic, while relatable to many, but the way it is composed and structured, crafted carefully and with precision, and the compelling, confident performance delivered by José R. Fontao.
I love the fact that Leska makes their own music videos. We get a lot from the video treatment, and in this case, it really puts a whole new perspective on the subject. The story is about a girl. She is alone near the water. She looks out at the vastness of it all. She turns her head and sees them coming. It's the boys. She joins them. They don't notice, so she heads off. They follow her and choose to include her.
While I could go into detail about flaws, an additional detail that could have been added, twists or mannerisms in the story that could have been better captured, the premise of the story is clear and the resolution feels right. This song at its core is a song about acceptance. She is accepted. Mission accomplished.
It's a simple story for a refined song. Simplicity and refinements are what this EP is about, stripping down what Leska is in its basic forms, using historical elements of their music, then determining where the duo is going, and what it stands for.
"With this EP we wanted to go further in terms of musicality and get ourselves out of our comfort zone," says Leska, "we use what we have learned from our individual projects to reinforce a new sound... and strengthened the message we want to convey."
Understanding Leska and its influences are like understanding a well-balanced meal. Les Gordon is the light side of the meal, the vegetables, and the fruits. A conservatory-trained cellist, he is the part of the meal that makes you feel good. Musically, he is the tropical pop part of this project, hailing from the Kitsune influence.
Douchka is the protein. He's a disc jockey with a decade of gigs under his belt in Douarnenez and broke into writing music a few years ago. His music is heavy and fills you up, satisfying the appetite and the part that makes you lean back with your hands behind your head and a smile on your face.
Fontao, the featured vocalist, is the lead singer and songwriter of the band Stuck In The Sound, a straight up alternative rock band from Paris. While the vocal style of his personal project is quirky and experimental, he has completely refined his voice for Leska, projecting a confidence that triumphs over all of his previous work, proving to be very approachable.
The Leska project technically dates back to 2014, but we really see this project blossoming after the release of Gordon's Atlas Remix EP in March 2016 where Douchka provided a glitchy, sample-laden version that amplifies the chopped vocal of the song in a way reminiscent of how Pogo chops up Disney soundtracks. His remix was thoughtful, including a beautiful use of the piano that really brought a level of warmth and playfulness not found in the original.
I haven't heard more than Leska's prior singles, but I believe being approachable is part of the goal here. While their PR emphasizes a conscious shift toward acoustic, as in unplugged, I'd argue its more about acoustics.
"Curious" is a song that strips out the complexities of the bands prior work, removes the wobbles and warbles, replacing them with some slamming simple chords on the keys and using drums that, whether sampled from live drums or actually recorded by the band in the studio, allow you to feel like you're in a room that has acoustical reverberation beyond the soundstage.
"We didn’t want to get rid of everything we’ve done before," says Leska, "we had a great year with a lot of gigs and it brought us this far, we just want to keep on moving on without forgetting what we’ve done and what still has to be done."
The duo's forthcoming EP, Circles II, will hit the streets in June.