Los Angeles via Northern California and South Africa indie pop crafter Nick Leng is set to drop his debut EP, Drivers, later this year. The 22-year-old trained as a classical pianist for over a decade, but those lessons gave way to Leng’s predilection for shaping artful pop structures. The first peek at the EP, “Playing With Fire,” is exemplary of how Leng has smoothed together his clashing sensibilities. The washed out, driving piano hints at his classical leanings with sustained synths readying for the elements to come. Leng opens with “The storm is rolling in/ Screaming when you whisper” building anticipation for minimal, but evocative storytelling as he stirs the beat around it and slowly sprinkles ingredients. Subtly knocking drums, and ringing guitar join for the catchy hook: “She said, don’t you speak to me that way/ Because you’re playing with fire.” The lyrics elicit the hint of sexiness that can come with volatile arguments in a relationship, especially in the make-up phase, and the arrangement only bolsters that sentiment. Check it out.
Drivers is out 6/3 on B3SCI Records. Pre-order is available here.