The Album Leaf’s A Chorus Of Storytellers: Two Cent Review
Artist: The Album Leaf
Album: A Chorus of Storytellers
Label: Sub Pop
Release date: February 2
There’s something particularly profound about instrumental music that touches the soul. Like in group meditation, words can sometimes serve only to distract. But musicians don’t always grasp that: They often use lyrics, or even vocals themselves, to indiscriminately fill in perceived gaps in sound. Jimmy LaValle seems to know this – or, if nothing else, he knows the precious value of using both music and lyrics economically. Maybe that’s why it’s so unlikely that, 10 years into his Album Leaf, LaValle has more to say than ever before. Devotees will be struck by the sheer number of words featured on A Chorus of Storytellers, but they will be relieved to discover that the results aren’t uneven at all: The 11 tidy compositions on this record are as worthy as any you’ll find in the artist’s catalog. As judicious as he is with vocals, LaValle is also careful with his use of programming (another temptation “solo” projects like these often succumb to). Instead of relying only on processed sounds, he’s also integrated percussion and gently weeping guitars, not to mention live horns and strings. The results are aromatic, majestic, therapeutic; Storytellers is good food for the soul.
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