Land of Talk – Cloak and Cipher

January 01, 1970

(Saddle Creek)


It’s getting tougher to tell the players apart these days,
especially that new breed hailing from north of the border. It’s an especially
difficult proposition when one considers the fact that several of these current
combos are represented on this sophomore set from Land of Talk, the latest
outfit to make a play for Stateside success. It’s only natural then that with
members of Arcade Fire and Stars on board to lend their support, Land of Talk
would more or less plow similar straits, mining that swooning, ethereal sound
that’s helped their compatriots etch their own impressions, however vague it
may sometimes seem.


And that’s the thing. Without any real defined melodies,
Land of Talk is forced to mine ambiance instead. Theirs is a restless,
celestial ambiguity, but fortunately for all concerned, it’s buoyed
considerably by singer Elizabeth Powell’s effusive, over-arched vocals, which
tend to swell well beyond the songs’ parameters. This is, after all, mainly
Powell’s vehicle, and if anyone can set these songs apart, it would have to be
her. The rest of the players lend able support, but she’s the one that creates
the most indelible impression, whether it’s her ebullient come-on via “Cloak
and Cipher,” the rowdy wail that billows throughout “The Hate I Won’t Commit”
or the sheer bold exuberance she exudes through “Blangee Blee.” Her compatriots
do an able job of shifting the circumstance – “Color Me Badd” and “Swift Coin”
demonstrate their ability to alter the tones and textures within the parameters
of even a single song – but it’s Powell who holds her listeners enthralled,
and, in fact, makes them anxious to hear even more.


and Cipher,” “The Hate I Won’t Commit” LEE ZIMMERMAN


Leave a Reply