Saddle Creek | Land of Talk | Reviews


Some Are Lakes

Author: J. Doug Gill
10/08/2008 | Soundcheck Magazine | | Album Review
While comparisons to Die Mannequin's front woman, Care Failure, are inevitable, it is vital that Some Are Lakes get more than one or two cursory listens. It's the only way to confirm that Land of Talk's singer/songwriter/guitarist Elizabeth Powell's persona is uniquely her own.

This Montreal-based three-piece has followed last year's churning debut EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, with a recording that is not only brash and furious, but also full of catchy pop hooks. And as we've heard a thousand times before, the coupling of such styles has met with failure more often than it has reveled in success.

Not this time.

Granted, Powell's vocal stylings do bring Care Failure briefly to mind (on "The Man Who Breaks Things (Dark Shuffle)", most notably), but she also channels a few Björk-isms ("Give Me Back My Heart Attack") and even Cat Power's Chan Marshall ("Death By Fire").

No matter; it's the tense, deliberate melodies and unrelenting guitar work that supplies Land of Talk with its bona fide originality.

From the soft, blues-framed strains of "It's Okay" to the frenetic, spiraling changes in "Yuppy Flu", the listener is never quite sure where the melodies will take them – but they know they'll be arriving in a hurry. "Corner Phone" is one example – the feverish six-string barrage making for a blistering, three-minute journey that only pauses on the verses to catch its breath.

The title track moves along at a nice, poppy pace, its urgency choked briefly by a charming guitar break, and "Young Bridge" delivers on its initial chord-crashing, Brit-pop promise with aplomb.

Some are Lakes' most disappointing moments, unfortunately, come at the end. The two tracks that close the disc, "Got a Call" and "Troubled", extinguish some of the effort's blazing enthusiasm.

"Got a Call" is standard indie-guitar fare, and the nonengaging melody is saved only by Powell's always-appealing voice. Ditto "Troubled", where country-tinged acoustic strains simply meander under the slow and reflective vocals.

The fizzled finales may bring this effort to a lethargic close, but Some are Lakes' spirited tracks easily outdistance the disc's sluggish moments.

Couple that fervor with the captivating presence of Elizabeth Powell, and Land of Talk should be mining this deep vein of indie gold for years to come.
Some Are Lakes

Some Are Lakes

LP / CD / MP3