The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (Sub Pop) 

With carefully controlled atmospherics and minimal vocals, The Album Leaf deals in calm, impressionistic beauty.

Led by San Diego guitarist Jimmy LaValle, The Album Leaf resides in its own little Venn diagram segment that combines former tourmate and obvious influence Sigur Rós, electronica's softer side and the pop-ambient hybrid of labelmate The Postal Service.

A Chorus of Storytellers marks the first time The Album Leaf has recorded as a full band. "Stand Still" makes the most of the prominent energy of live drums, blending in hypnotic strings to achieve an enjoyable balance of urgency and restraint. But even though LaValle's talents lean toward moodiness and a comforting lull, tension and contrast is too often absent here, leaving the slower and more stately songs to pass with barely a flicker.

"Until the Last" is another standout, with strings washing over a trippy beat and a repeated, exultant keyboard riff. "Blank Pages" is sketched with a discreet uneasiness, sounding like it's made for heavy late-night introspection. This is an easy album to slip into, one that shades its prettiness with a bit of mystery and melancholy.

Still, there's a restraint that runs contrary to the possibilities of recording with a full band. A Chorus of Storytellers sounds just as purposefully and slowly layered as LaValle's solo studio efforts.

The title and the new approach suggest a presentation of The Album Leaf as something of an orchestra, but if it is, it's an orchestra held back by clipped wings.

More by Eric Swedlund

  • This Ain’t Basketball

    Diverse Tucson quintet unleashes its fifth LP
    • Oct 20, 2016

    Matt and Kim headline new Dusk Music Festival bringing other national and local acts together
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • The Madcap Laughs

    Why onetime Tucsonan Robyn Hitchcock is a two and a half trick pony
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

We Made One-Fifth of a Lotería Deck For You

The Weekly List: 25 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation