Review : Land of Talk - Cloak and Cipher
PitchforkAfter spending an entire North American tour supporting Broken Social Scene after the release of debut Some Are Lakes, you'd think that Land of Talk would be be eager to dial back the Canadian Indie Power Pop Bombast a little. Indeed, after the group translated some of the raw energy of its breakout EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss into the more graceful, delicately arranged pieces found on Lakes, it seemed as if Land of Talk were destined to slip into the recesses of comfortable, regal indie rock. But with their follow-up Cloak and Cipher-- a fevered, grandiose record that's both denser and more technically proficient than its predecessor-- the Montreal trio take every opportunity to make their former tourmates proud with this batch of swoon-worthy, anthemic songs.
If there's one thing the band does right on Cloak and Cipher, it's nail these big, star-bursted choruses. Powell, who acts as both the voice and chief songwriter of Land of Talk, has clearly allowed some of her time working with BSS to rub off on the material found here. While it might be a little dangerous to nick ideas from your new employer, the songs on Cloak and Cipher that sound the most like BSS tunes are the best ones here. Riff-slathered single "Swift Coin" sounds a lot like "7/4 (Shoreline)", while standout "Quarry Hymns" marries some familiar balladry with salted air and sunset-warmed guitars lifted from some late-70s FM station. It's a high-water mark, and one that best captures the band's intent to never allow the emotive moments to get the best of the blustery ones, and vice versa.
Throughout, Powell remains a transfixing voice, and Land of Talk gives her the space she needs to try a variety of approaches. On an otherwise sad but endearing sounding little ballad, "Color Me Badd" (yep, like the "I Wanna Sex You Up" guys) finds Powell's softly spun vocal boiling-over with a controlled kind of lovesick frustration that locates a complex hurt. But most of the time, she doesn't need to rely on anything as dramatic, channelling a humbler, late-era Stevie Nicks on "Playita" or doing a less-precious Feist on "Hamburg, Noon"....full text
PhotogmusicUsually its Elizabeth Powell who helms the band.
With the second album she got alot of help from Patrick Watson, Stars, Arcade Fire, The Besnard Lakes, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Wintersleep and Esmerine.
I am very surprised with the production on Cloak and Cipher.
Its alot of experimentation and a fuller sound.
What is great about this album it came during Lizís downtime on recovery from her vocal surgery.
She had alot of writing and making music during her downtime.
The result is ten luscious tracks on the album.
There is a mix of the mellow LoT (Better and Closer) and angry LoT (The Hate I Wonít Commit).
Blangee Blee sounds like its picks up the song where Some Are Lakes left off.
There are some tracks that I have a sense of emotion and connection to which are Goaltime Exposure, Quarry Hymns and Color Me Badd.
Wondering what the name of the hidden track after Better and Closer.
Overall I really love Cloak and Cipher.
Cloak and Cipher
Color Me Badd
The Hate I Wonít Commit
Better and Closer...full text
ElboSaddle Creek When their debut mini-album Applause Cheer Boo Hiss arrived in 2006, Land Of Talk appeared as though Canada had a new hard rock heroine in Liz Powell, her white-hot guitar work matched only by her distinctive vocals, equal parts angst and yearning. It wasn't a title - or pigeonhole - that Powell seemed interested in, however, and their 2008 proper debut album Some Are Lakes surprised not only by dialing down the white-knuckle rock in favour of a somewhat softer...full text
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