Leisure Centre is the result of many years of soul searching for songwriter/drummer/singer Hugh Rabinovici and his right-hand-lady, vocalist Audrey Powne. The two met some years ago in the rarefied corridors of Melbourne’s finest Jazz school and bonded over a shared love of Erykah Badu and a desire to spread their creative wings in a digital landscape. The combination of Hugh’s writing and Audrey’s vocals immediately gelled and before graduating they’d assembled a gifted cohort of Melbourne’s finest and most active musicians that went on to become Leisure Centre.
Leisure Centre is equal parts performance and programming, drawing from a broad palette of live instruments and electronic sounds. At the front, Hugh and Audrey alternate lead vocal duties, supported by harmony singers Lauren Brydie and Jamie-Lee Fanning. Backing them, Darvid Thor’s guitar sound is classic soul but the plethora of synthesizers manipulated by the virtuosic James “Sparklefingers” Bowers, owes more to Vangelis or Hiatus Kaiyote or Herbie. At the back, Tom Pettit’s bass playing goes from rock overdrive to slinky neosoul and links perfectly with Hugh’s 808 heavy programming and jilty post-Dilla drumming.