Reviews

Cloak and Cipher

Author: Kevin Coffey
09/23/2010 | Omaha World Herald | www.omaha.com | Live Show Preview
Land of Talk has been called the best band you've never listened to.

The group's first full-length release, "Some Are Lakes," had kind of a slow burn. It took awhile for fans and critics to get hold of it, but they gushed with praise once they did.

More than a year after its release, the band got recognition from an unlikely and high-profile source: Kanye West.

The hip-hop star posted a video by the Canadian indie rock trio to his blog and talked about how great they are.

"I found it rather flattering. It's kinda random what things catch on and what things don't," band leader Elizabeth Powell said on the phone from a tour stop in Toronto. "It's crazy just which different tools propel an album forward. It's kind of a random science."

The band's latest effort, "Cloak and Cipher," recently released on Saddle Creek Records, has received loads of praise lately.

Powell created the album when she went into a sort of seclusion after suffering a vocal hemorrhage and completely losing her voice.

"I was just burnt out," Powell said. "I was exhausted. It was kind of the silver lining in losing my voice, though, because it forced me to take the downtime that I wouldn't have taken naturally. It taught me how to say no and not answer my phone all the time and focus on what I felt was important, which is making music."

She ended up becoming "a bit of a recluse," she said, and wrote songs that she said helped her get through her exhaustion.

"It nursed me back to health, which is kind of a cool thing for a record to do," Powell said.

"Cloak and Cipher" has a lot more instrumentation than previous albums, as well as textures and layers, making it sound less like a three-piece indie group. Powell and co-producers Jace Lasek and Eoin O Laoghaire (who also played bass on the new album) added layers and layers of sound to the songs.

The layered sound is a slight departure from the band's previous efforts, but Powell thinks the band's music follows a natural progression.

"I feel like there's always a time and a place. A lot of what we do is sort of a product of our environment and circumstance and what type of resources we have (i.e., money) and getting people to work with you," Powell said. "I see the beginning of Land of Talk being exactly that. We were starting from scratch with nothing, and we were slowly building."


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