Punknews.org
Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes (Cover Artwork)

Land of Talk

Land of Talk: Some Are LakesSome Are Lakes (2008)
Saddle Creek Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: IReviewMusicIReviewMusic
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Some Are Lakes is a good record. It's worth several listens. That said, it suffers from conceits not its own. Be it vocal conventions ill-advised on behalf of the band's singular talent, the inappropriate loudness of contemporary mastering or the inadequacy of a backseat drum aesthetic, a few things.
iTunes StoreAmazon


Some Are Lakes is a good record. It's worth several listens. That said, it suffers from conceits not its own. Be it vocal conventions ill-advised on behalf of the band's singular talent, the inappropriate loudness of contemporary mastering or the inadequacy of a backseat drum aesthetic, a few things keep this record from being what it should be.

What records by Land of Talk can be is pretty limitless. There aren't too many emotions Liz Powell can't turn a good phrase about and the band has a wealth of structural and textural creativity at their disposal. Powell's a unique and refreshing voice, her local cache well-earned and she does an admirable job not only of hammering away at energetic, familiar progressions, but also of accessing guitar sounds that border on alienating, letting the listener rest on the cusp of aural interest. "Give Me Back My Heart Attack" demonstrates as much.

The songwriting is enviable. Adopting and subverting pop song structures can be like reinventing the wheel -- destined for novel failure, but Powell and company seem to do it with organic ease.

Powell's voice standing front and center most of the way through this record could have been a great thing, and at moments it is. She's a powerful singer with a good grasp of delivery and an abundance of nuance. Unfortunately it's in the space her voice inhabits that this record encounters most of its critical failures.

There's a fine line between rueful, restrained vocal performances and those that sound intentionally subdued and implicitly arrogant. On this record, most of Powell's singing falls within the less-charming territory on that spectrum. Sitting on top of everything else at pop song volume, these flattened articulations smother songs that could be far more interesting. "Got a Call" is a good example.

Powell isn't without her moments of triumph, though. When she brings herself to sing loud and vehement, the songs instantly reach higher ground. The record's standout track, "It's Okay" also provides the welcome relief of a quiet, intimate production landscape, in which the laze of Powell's voice takes on sincerest form. The same goes for acoustic closer "Troubled."

There's a good reason these songs are welcome respites: This record is plagued by a critical lack of dynamics. Just about everything is loud. The choruses are no larger than the verses, because there's nowhere to go but down in terms of volume. That's contemporary mastering. Years from now I'm sure this record will be considered another casualty of the volume wars. It could possess so much more staying power if it weren't for the way in which its loudness suffocates its wildly intelligent structure.

The drums suffer in this sonic space, too. They sound replaced and thuddy, unnecessarily consistent and simple. The songs shine when they dare to wander busily.

The most unfortunate component maligned herein is the lyricism. Powell's got a powerful mind and it shows itself readily at many junctures. Yet the sad, sparkling words are occasional and the rest is rhyme-y filler. It seems like this could have been great first draft material, but it isn't consistently insightful enough to hold continuous interest. Not to mention that Powell's too-tremulous delivery, combined with some droning double-tracking makes them oft-indecipherable.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Abacabb - DemoDays - Move the MountainsCassino - KingprinceAmerican Alchemy - The First Angel You MeetPrawn - You Can Just Leave It All

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
lookbackandlaugh (October 23, 2008)

The cover art is a crime against humanity.

punknewscommenter (October 22, 2008)

Thanks icapped.
Youre saying what I was thinking. I felt like it was either Pitchfork or I got bored and started reading a thesaurus.

Alien (October 22, 2008)

haha I had a copy of this for free. my friend works at a university newspaper office, and they received a copy, which he gave me, but I gave it to my friend. I wonder if he likes it.

icapped2pac (October 22, 2008)

I think "obtuse" is one word you may be looking for to describe this review. Reminds me of Pitchfork in how they seem to actually try to dare you to stop reading it.

eran_zombis (October 21, 2008)

seeing them tonight.

punknewscommenter (October 21, 2008)

I love this band and was very excited for the record to come out. I was not disappointed one bit.
Ok my only gripe would be it is a bit too short. Oh well.

Id say the review is a bit strange. Is "wordy" the description Im looking for? I dont know. Thanks for reviewing this anyways!

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go