Land of Talk - Life After Youth

by Jason Atkinson Rating:7 Release Date:2017-05-19

Montreal-based Land of Talk, after several albums and an extended hiatus, is back, releasing some indie rock from the adult perspective. Fronting the group is songwriter and singer Elizabeth Powell, who, judging by the title of the album, has a message for those in the midst of the bloom of youth: old people are interesting, too. The potency of this with-age-comes-wisdom maturity is at its most piquant in the R&B inflected “Inner Lover.” It is a moody track—a driving electronic drumbeat, a great hook, a drone. Her vocal work here is sad, almost angry. The video, too, helps to bring the ideas home: a still image of a frowning, defiant Elizabeth Powell staring into the camera. Behind her, juxtaposed, are some tattered fabrics getting tossed recklessly about by the wind. The video, with the music, almost seems like a work of video art—something you might see at the Museum of Modern Art or Art Basel.

The rest of the album is stylistically a bit different than this track, starting out with the lo-fi/crunchy “Yes You Were,” showing off Ms. Powell’s vocal range. “This Time” reminds me a bit of Modern English and The National at the beginning. “Loving” and “What Was I Thinking” owe a bit to The Blake Babies—I liked the electronic effects on the chorus (theremin?); however, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of a lot of the guitar work on these tracks—it’s just a bit too simplistic for my taste. “Spiritual Intimidation” has a very pop feel, while “Heartcore” has a 1980’s flavour without a strong hook or grabby chorus.

“In Florida” is, from a structural standpoint, one of the most interesting songs on the album. There are vocal effects here, and great out of tune piano sounds which contrast well with the straight ahead rock aspects of the track. We end with “Macabre,” which starts in a quiet space but builds big.

Elizabeth Powell has said that her band has been a slow burn band. Though this album has some weak moments, the strong ones are undeniable. Considering the strength of tracks like “Inner Lover ” may Land of Talk burn bright and long.

Now go get it.

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