Jimmy LaValle, the man behind the music of The Album Leaf, isn’t exactly what I’d call a storyteller. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that LaValle and company actually sang on their records. The popular belief is that if you don’t have lyrics to your songs, then you’re either a jam band or you’re making eclectic ambiance/lounge music. Now I’m not going to charge The Album Leaf with such generalizations, but I will write briefly about their latest EP A Chorus of Storytellers.
For me, this album typifies the ‘hit-or-miss’ genre of electronic music. Some songs immediately strike a chord with the listener, while others seem to languish and falter in their transmission. Take for example “Blank Pages”: it’s a melancholy day at some French cafe and the rain is beating down outside.
I can see the appeal, but it’s not something I can queue up anytime. Contrast that with the next song on the album “There is a Wind”, a coherent electropop track that has a cheerful lightness that gives it volume. The erratic “Within Dreams” gets wrangled in by the strudel-sweet strings that enter in at about 1:50, while “Stand Still” starts the listener off at the top of a daunting set of stairs and slowly walks her down.
The repetition of “Until the Last” drags the listener into a lull, only to be wonderfully awoken by the soft horns and triumphant pianos of a new day. “Almost There” has an unmistakable radio-friendly kitsch, from the skipping drums to the shoegaze vocals.
Get a copy of A Chorus of Storytellers.
Listen to “There is a Wind”
Listen to “Almost There“