Reviews

Cloak and Cipher

05/22/2010 | Popwreckoning.com | www.popwreckoning.com | Feature
Montreal trio Land of Talk, spearheaded by vocalist and songwriter Elizabeth Powell, have announced the release of their sophomore full-length album, Cloak and Cipher, out August 24th, 2010 on Saddle Creek. Joining Powell on the album are Eoin O Laoghaire (bass) and Andrew Barr (drums) and special guests drawn from the Montreal music scene and beyond including Patrick Watson as well as members of Stars, Silver Mount Zion Band, Wintersleep, Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire and Esmerine.

Stand out live sets brought attention to Powell's voice and presence when the band toured with Broken Social Scene. Powell harnesses the power from the live shows to make the complex composition that is Cloak and Cipher.

This record is the document of Powell's past and future, cleaved together. In those teenage years, an analog child, her recordings were strictly to 4-track tape. Cloak and Cipher's songs were roughed out in the digital Garageband software, a first for Powell. It afforded her the space to return to her old process isolated, quiet, layered construction. Realized in the studio, these songs became vast yet intricate: expansive arrangements anchored by taut instrumentation. The lyrics are borrowed newspaper headlines, veiled confessions, and passages from books, annihilated and morphed into song. Tracks like "Hamburg, Noon" swing tensely between acrobatic vocals and rumbling guitars while "Swift Coin" roars to the fore like an eviscerating siren; exploding into a rollicking and joyous guitar anthem. The halfway point, "The Hate I Won't Commit," featuring a piano solo from Patrick Watson, weaves between abrasive and gentle, expanding through choral backing vocals and distressed, emotive pleas from Powell. "Quarry Hymns" is the sweetest and saddest Land of Talk you will hear, insistently driven by Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara on drums. The record concludes with the dreamy and ethereal "Better and Closer" gently rocking you asunder.

Land of Talk hit the road later this month with Besnard Lakes.

Cloak and Cipher track listing in full:
1. Cloak and Cipher
2. Goaltime Exposure
3. Quarry Hymns
4. Swift Coin
5. Color Me Badd
6. The Hate I Won't Commit
7. Hamburg, Noon
8. Blangee Blee
9. Playita
10. Better and Closer

Land of Talk tour dates:
5/26/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom*
5/27/10 Washington, DC @ Black Cat*
5/28/10 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom*
5/29/10 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's*
5/30/10 Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bears*
5/31/10 Portland, ME @ Space Gallery
*w/ Besnard Lakes


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Cloak and Cipher

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