Featured Image: Artist’s Own
Neo-soul band, ZEBEDE, continue to brighten our summer playlists, with the release of their latest track, ‘L.M.E’.
After forming in 2018, the five-piece has since made a name for themselves in the UK. Led by frontwoman Leah Cleaver, ZEBEDE has performed at numerous venues, including Abbey Road Studios, O2 Islington Academy and Ronnie Scotts. The up-and-coming band have also played the Barclaycard stage at British Summertime Festival, as well as many intimate sets with Sofar Sounds. The band have also recently joined the Secret Sessions Artists Network, who expose artists to new audiences and have discovered the likes of Mahalia and Bastille. September saw the release of their self-titled EP, which combined modern funk with intricate storytelling.
The London-based band’s new single, ‘L.M.E’ (standing for Love Me Enough), is a powerhouse of energy and passion. Written by all 5 members, it presents a broad spectrum featuring the best and worst elements of a relationship. Love songs have become renowned for often being either longingly sad or overly happy, yet ZEBEDE has managed to create one that almost appears to be both at once. ‘L.M.E’ spotlights the lustful obsession that love can create, where everything else in the world feels muted, in comparison to the infatuation experienced. However, it is also a complex take on the amount of persona’s one may embody in a relationship. After all, despite how long you may have been with someone, how well can you say you truly know them and believe in their feelings for you? The track also contrastingly spins around the perspective, pointing the mirror away from looking at oneself- perhaps in an attempt to reflect any darkness that may lie beneath the surface.
‘L.M.E’ is a dizzying burst of sensations that transcends genres, encompassing a mix of soul, R&B and jazz all at once. The insecurities about relationships that can consume one have been perfectly captured by ZEBEDE- all while managing to still create an upbeat song that can only be listened to in the blazing sunshine. Cleaver’s voice is no less spirited than in their previous releases, however considering she has previously stated her inspirations to include Nina Simone and Naomi Saalfield, this is not surprising. These influences are certainly apparent not only in her fervent vocals, but also in the band’s overall intensity. Comparisons can also be drawn to Alabama Shakes’ early work, sincere singing combined with zealous instrumentals? That’s both these bands all over. ZEBEDE have travelled back to the 1970s for this one, having incorporated both vintage soul and aesthetics into ‘L.M.E’. Additionally, the single artwork, designed by Nkaquirk, truly represents how vibrant the band are. To put it boldly, the ‘L.M.E’ cover is adorable yet still striking, conveying the sickly sweetness of romance. A mango makes it onto the artwork too, making it recognisable as being a ZEBEDE track, with the fruit having become their emblem.
ZEBEDE also released single, ‘Hold Up’, in March of this year, a song that explores the bigotry and systemic racism which many people face daily. Earnestly, ZEBEDE stated in an Instagram post that they were aware there will be no ‘expiry date’ to the meaning behind the lyrics of ‘Hold Up’. In the same post, the band reflected upon their belief that “as creatives we have a duty to address these issues” and shared further information as to how to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Praise has been endowed from all angles upon the band, with others describing their sound as “truthful, exciting and unfiltered”. Spotify has also added their music to some of their featured playlists, including ‘Next Wave Neo-Soul’ and ‘Soul n the City’.
To say that we are obsessed with this band would be an understatement. In only a short time, they have produced some of the most unique and captivating music we have heard in a long time. Their charm and genre-defying sound, are just a few factors that separate them from many a rising band currently on the scene. In fact, if you do not have ‘L.M.E’ on repeat all summer, you may need to re-evaluate your entire music taste.
Their latest track, ‘L.M’E’, is available on all major streaming platforms.
Keep up with ZEBEDE: