I’VE GOT YR BOVINE EYES | no canon // land of talk

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A few different things can lead to an artist’s exclusion from the canon.  As we’ve seen in past posts, one is critical derision.  Another is, of course, obscurity – A band that never gets any traction outside of a small following is not going to be canonized simply because they’re unknown.  I’d totally write one of these on Kickball if they had more than like 3000 fans.  The third and most subtle route to non-canonization is to be well-received and make great music, and then for one fickle reason or another become forgotten.  There aren’t actually a whole lot of bands like this – if people like you a lot at one point they’re not likely to forget.  A lot of the acts who die by the lazy sword of this third category suffer their fate simply due to timing, and the blog-rock boom of the mid-2000s is littered with innocent corpses.

Enter Land Of Talk.

I. SO MUCH SKIN / SO LITTLE TIME

Land Of Talk formed in Montreal in 2006 when singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell met some dudes in the jazz program at Concordia University and got them to play drums and bass for her.  Neither of these guys stuck around for long enough to have a significant impact on the band, which was always all about Powell anyway.  In 2006, they released their debut seven-song mega-EP, “Applause Cheer Boo Hiss,” produced by The Besnard Lakes’s Jace Lasek, to significant acclaim.  The EP got a bit of buzz right off the bat – Canada was sooo hot in ’06 – but as far as I can tell it didn’t really garner the band a whole lot of traction.

Which is a shame because “ACBH” is easily the most immediate thing Powell put out as Land Of Talk.  The guitars buzz and squeal, the rhythm section holds things down adequately, and Powell’s lilting alto worms around in weirdly catchy and even more weirdly affecting ways, playing through and around the guitar as if the two instruments are being played by separate parts of Powell’s brain.  Opener “Speak To Me Bones” roars out of the gate with some of Powell’s most immediate lyrics, a harsh feminist screed over a harsh disco beat that would go over so well in 2015 that it’s hard to believe no one on “The Le Sigh Vol. II” is trying to repurpose this band yet – “Holy God / We are just bags of blood / Stop hitting on girls you love / Stop spitting on girls you love.”  (The mid-aughts were really rife with Canadian women saying awesome things like this – cf. Metric, Crystal Castles).

Lead single “Summer Special” features one of this EP’s prettiest chorus melodies, which merges into a rough post-punk break right out of the mid-90s playbook.  “Breaxxbaxx” has choppy, angular guitars out the ears and Powell hitting some of her glorious high notes that work as textural elements as much as melodic ones.  “Magnetic Hill” is all about her guitar chops, which are far too impressive for a debut EP.

Mark Hogan’s 7.5 review for Pitchfork is a weird paean to Pretty Girls Make Graves, positioning Powell as a successor to Andrea Zollo’s post-hardcore queendom, which makes very little sense to me.  I love PGMG as much as the next Northwesterner who likes guitars, but Powell is like three of that band’s members rolled into one, and with a much subtler emotional palette.  To limit her work here to torch-carrying for PGMG is a huge reduction.

2007_05_30landoftalk

II. SLEEPING WITHOUT A KEY / ONLY FUCKS THE WAKING WORLD

2008 saw the release of Land Of Talk’s masterpiece, the elemental, subtle-as-eff “Some Are Lakes.”  Terrible cover art aside, Powell does nothing wrong on this album, which had the added benefit of production from just-blew-the-fvk-up Justin “Bonny Bear” Vernon a few months after the Jagjaguwar re-release of “For Emma, Forever Ago.”  Add the huge label boost up to Saddle Creek and it becomes totally baffling that “Some Are Lakes” did not become one of the biggest success stories out of Canada in the mid-aughts.

I’m going to chalk it up to subtlety. (Why aren’t there more words for “subtle”?)  As Hogan wrote in his review of “ACBH,” “you know you like it long before you know why.”  Nothing about Land Of Talk is flashy – they’re slow-burning in the most refined sense.  If you’re not one to appreciate this category of emotion, “Some Are Lakes” is going to pass you by like something you didn’t understand and didn’t feel like putting the time into understanding.  It’s a grower of a record the way “Alligator” and “Boxer” are – you have to spend time learning Powell’s language before it becomes a part of your own personal lexicon in a way that feels innate.

See, for example, the way opener “Yuppie Flu” breaks wide open in it’s bridge from a mid-tempo rock song with intricate harmonic guitarwork into a shimmering bloom of high-neck strumming and full-kit drum rolls.  It’s a moment that could almost go unnoticed the first few times you hear it, but eventually it feels like the only thing that could possibly happen after Powell repeatedly asks, “Are you seeing your own death / And selling it to me?”

Powell’s lyrics on this record are far more oblique than they were two years before, and this might be another barrier to Land Of Talk’s canonization.  The level of impressionism here bears another National comparison, but Powell focuses less on meticulous details than Matt Berninger, favoring instead weird slanted lines that don’t necessarily follow any sort of pin-pointed logic.  “We’ve seen how sick wind blows / But I’ve got your bovine eyes” she sings on the chorus of the glorious title track.  Who knows what either of these lines mean, but the tone of her voice gives you such an impression of wistful longing that you know exactly what she means.  Then she drops a more direct bomb – “I’ll love you like I love you then I’ll die.”  It’s juxtapositions like this that make Powell such a fascinating lyricist, deserving of the extra effort it takes to get her.  Later, on the driving “Give Me Back My Heart Attack,” almost nonsensical verses – “Does this not take / If I could old school / Leave it on the line / Give you ladies exercise” – give way to the heart-scouring chorus – “So sad this won’t kill you / Tonight I sleep in the car / I release you, I’m a girl / When it’s cold out, I’m a dog.”  Again, Powell’s delivery is what makes these lines hit so hard – the roughness in her voice comes to the fore at first, as it then softens into the second half, along with your heart.

This is to say nothing of her guitar playing.  The evocative harmonics of “The Man Who Breaks Things,” the brilliant chord changes of the gorgeous “Some Are Lakes” (and that songs choppy bridge), the dissonantly chopping aggression of “Corner Phone” – I have to wonder what would happen if this album had come out in 2012 or so, when guitar heroines like Jenn Wasner and Annie Clark were becoming more and more acclaimed.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Sadie Dupuis of newly-minted melodically-subtle/emotionally-fraught heroes Speedy Ortiz is a big Liz Powell fan – the same Northern chill pervades both bands.

The most obvious connection to be made here is to Broken Social Scene and its constellation of players – Powell toured with the band in the fall of ’08 as their requisite Leslie Feist/Emily Haines stand-in.  What would’ve happened if Feist or Metric (or Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, for that matter) had put out “Some Are Lakes’s” heart-destroying ballad “It’s Okay”?  If it had been Feist singing, “Maybe when I die / I’ll get to be a car / Driving in the night / Tearing up the dark,” there’s no question that the Starbucks crowd would’ve eaten it up.  As it stands, Powell’s version of the song is too evocative and indirect to be hawked in corporate cafés.  Lord knows how deep into people’s hearts Bon Iver could’ve taken the song.

In the end, though, things like the melodic intricacy of “Got A Call” and the quiet emoting of “Death By Fire” rendered what should’ve been Land Of Talk’s breakout moment into an after-thought of 2008, relegated to that bizarre limbo of the 70 percenters.

LandOfTalk

 III. FOR ME IT WAS OVER / THE CORONER, THE CRIPPLE

After stop-gap EP “Fun And Laughter” in 2009, Land Of Talk released their final album, “Cloak And Cipher,” in 2010.  Working with Lasek again, the band sounds way better than they did on “Some Are Lakes.”  Unfortunately, this also means we’re dealing with a lot of overproduction, which tries to mask some significantly less interesting songwriting.  The processed drum-break on the opening title track throws me off every time I hear it.  This is the point when the band decided to forget they had a genius guitarist as a frontwoman – the song features glockenspiel, talk-back recordings, shakers, backing coos, and pretty much no guitar.

Things get mostly better from them, with the somber “Goaltime Exposure” – featuring Powell’s biggest chorus ever – and the driving “Quarry Hymns,” featuring Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara on drums, and which could easily be a “Fantasies”-era Metric song.  Unfortunately, both of these songs (and a few others on “Cloak”) are well over five minutes long, and repeat each of their segments at least one too many times, crossing the line from subtle into boring.

 The album is severely lacking in the guitar heroics and screaming aggression that made so much of “Applause” and “Lakes” so great.  What’s more, it doesn’t make up for it by being packed with “It’s Okay” remakes, either.  Aside from a few standouts like the lurching triplet-fest “The Hate I Won’t Commit” and the simmering “Hamburg, Noon,” this is an album of Land Of Talk middle ground that never really goes anywhere at all, even for all it’s fancy bells and whistles and high fidelity.

Land Of Talk stopped doing anything sometime in 2011, and Saddle Creek eventually confirmed a “hiatus,” which I suppose just means that Powell isn’t making music right now.  For all I know, she’s chilling in Montreal, raising a family, having a life – gone the way of all artists who don’t quite “make it” after their second LP.  Whether or not she’ll come back obviously remains to be seen.  I personally would jump for joy, because I think the time is finally ripe for exactly what Powell is astoundingly good at.  Jenn Wasner ditched her guitar on Wye Oak’s disappointing-as-all-hell last album, Speedy Ortiz have just announced a new one, and, Christ, Sleater-Kinney just came out with one of the best records of their career after a ten-year hiatus.  Emotional vulnerability is huge right now.  Guitars are huge right now.  Acknowledging the problematic nature of this statement, it’s clear that women who play guitars while being emotionally vulnerable are killing it right now.  If Powell showed up next month and dropped a big, screeching classic piece of Land Of Talk instability, I see no reason why people wouldn’t go apeshit.  For now, though, I don’t know a single Land Of Talk fan aside from myself.  This is a real shame.

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11 comments

  1. Around the time Cloak and Cipher was released, the rumor/story behind the album was that all of the lyrics were derived from Miss Powell going through books and newspapers, crossing out various sections until only some words were left. I understand where you are coming from to a degree, the album is sonically a departure from Some Are Lakes, but its lyrics are intended to mystify and challenge the listener. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Metal Machine Music in terms of nicheness, but it’s a harder (and in my opinion more satisfying) piece of work; songs like Young Bridge and All My Friends are pretty straightforward breakup songs, but there’s a real lyrical depth and interest in the later tracks.

    As for your critique of Miss Powell no longer being a guitar goddess by Cloak and Cipher, you’re absolutely right. She wanted to be something different from that. Having attended a show when she was touring the final album, I want to refer you to this youtube clip from May You Never https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiX39GvApok . You’ll see around minute 1:53 her stop and wave her finger at some rowdy members of the audience who were rocking out a bit too hard. Having been there during this moment, and as you’ll hopefully see from the video, she was visibly disturbed by their reaction to the song. They weren’t getting it. May You Never, as with many of the songs in Fun and Laughter, was written while she was bedridden after surgery and couldn’t do much. The songs possess an inward energy, a brooding and anger that cannot be manifested in the body because the body has failed.

    By the time both of works were released, she no longer had a full band and played instead with the members from Suun, the Barr Brothers, and one of her friends who did back up vocals. This might explain why the guitar is less pronounced; by this stage, Miss Powell was acting more like a conductor than a soloist. She was responsible for more than just the guitar and vocals, but rather the whole composition of every track. I would argue that every song off of Fun and Laughter and Cloak and Cipher is fuller than the previous two albums. Powell wasn’t a part of a collective, but leading it full on. If you look at press photos from that time, she’s the only one there and for good reason.

    I’ve taken the time to carefully write this out because the last thing in this world I’d want is for Land of Talk or Elizabeth Powell to come back as the “emotionally vulnerable” female singer with a guitar you suggest. That’s an incredibly reductive way to look at any of the music Miss Powell has produced and belittles her to a sexist trope. You would hopefully agree with me, as a fan, that Land of Talk’s music transcends gender, stereotypes, and even the image of Elizabeth Powell herself. It disturbs me that so many of her fans approached her as a cool girl playing a gnarly guitar who would, on occasion, show her heart on her sleeve. To me, Land of Talk was never that band.

    To expand on what you wrote, I think there’s always a time for Land of Talk or Miss Powell to make more music; what her band has left us goes beyond trends, or whether or not the guitar is “in.” You seem to see Powell’s music as being particularly confessional and autobiographical, but it was never really that simple. Back in 2008, there was a contest to decipher the lyrics of Corner Phone. There’s always been this slippage to Land of Talk’s music where we don’t know precisely what’s being said or how we’re to take it. I listened to Corner Phone close to fifty times and still struggled. This is all to say, it’s fallacious to think of Land of Talk’s music as being right there for us to dissect and understand. Powell made complex, substantial puzzles that, I think you’d agree, could be appreciated anytime. Heck, I can’t go a week without listening to them.Do me a favor and look at Cloak and Cipher’s cover one more time and note the absence of a body. Land of Talk has always left us with the vestments and shape of a song, but we’ll never really know the real body of it.

    I apologize if this seems overly preachy or argumentative, but I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to write about the band and show that there are still fans out there. No one really knows what happened to Elizabeth Powell, but the songs are still here and as captivating as the first day I listened to them. You might be able to get more mileage out of the songs if you treat them all like ciphers and Miss Powell as something more than a guitarist or singer. To put the pretentious cherry on top of this critique, Powell was/is an artist.

    Some recommendations from a friend: check out the ELE_K songs if you want to hear any of Miss Powell’s earlier works. As for bands that really remind me of Land of Talk, Little Scream’s record is probably closest to Some are Lakes. If you want an album that sounds like Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, Honeyblood’s self-titled record has a lot of that grit and spirit (give “Biro” a listen for sure). Sharon Van Etten and Laura Gibson also have a distinctive later Land of Talk vibe, but the prize for me would go to Angel Olsen. These aren’t 1:1 comparisons, mind you, but they fill out and compliment a Land of Talk playlist.

    Powell’s own influences include Mary Margaret O’Hara (listen to You Will be Loved Again), Noah 23, The Breeders, The Pixies, etc. Definitely listen to O’Hara’s Miss America.

  2. Malcolm –

    Thanks for your response. I’m always impressed by people who are as long-winded when writing as I am. As you’re likely aware, I’m just a dude expressing a few opinions. I have no hope that this piece will be read as “conclusive” – no such thing exists.

    I had reservations about posting something that might come across as reductively sexist, hence my acknowledgement of that fact with that link to the Sleater-Kinney article. I completely agree that it’s a reductive way to look at Powell and LoT. Any angle on any artist is necessarily reductive. I was merely trying to make sonic/stylistic comparisons, which often become gendered for the simple fact that the female voice sounds different from the male voice most of the time. (I was also building off the precedent of comparing LoT to PGMG.) I think it would be hard for you to argue that Land of Talk and Wye Oak don’t sound similar, for example. That said, her influences are easily traced to plenty of male-fronted bands – but so are everyone’s.

    I don’t think any artist has any entitlement to call out audience members for reacting a certain way. That’s lovely that she didn’t intend to make a rowdy song with “May You Never,” but if that’s how people took it, that’s something she has to accept. Unless they were getting violent or being hideously obnoxious dickheads, she doesn’t really have the right to tell them how to react to her music. When you put it out there, it’s out there. “Like a bird, or a fart.”

    You draw a few distinctions that “disturb” me, to whatever degree some writing on the internet can be disturbing – Firstly, the “guitarist and singer” v. “artist” dichotomy. Seriously? You’re clearly a music fan, what do you think other guitarists and singers are if not artists? What makes these mutually exclusive? Where does one draw this line?

    Secondly, “emotionally vulnerable” v. “complex.” Of course I think these songs are complex. I wouldn’t be interested in them if they weren’t complex. Are the emotions expressed in them “obvious”? Not usually, no. Does that mean they’re not “vulnerable”? Of course not. There can be, and often is, “real lyrical depth” in the most blatant of breakup songs.

    As for my discussion of trends and the guitar being “in” – 1%JIHAD is largely a pop culture blog. Trends are what we like to look at. Trends are what make music/art interesting. Without trends, there is no culture. So, yes, I want to discuss art, including Powell’s, in the context of trends. I love the guitar – I love watching what people do with it. This is why I look at LoT as a guitar band. Note that the point at which I emphasized Powell’s guitar playing and emotional vulnerability was just a notion that she’d do really well in the current musical climate. This is interesting to me, probably more so than whatever oblique sentiments she’s trying to express in these contest-worthy lyrics. (see this thing – https://onepercentjihad.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/nfnty-gtrs-ought-naomi-punk-the-top-1-instrument-of-2014/)

    Anyway, glad to hear you like “Cloak” better than “Lakes.” I don’t. I do definitely agree, though, that LoT is music to be listened to on a weekly basis, partly because your “vestments” metaphor is a good one. Also, Olsen and Van Etten are both the shit.

    -gallons

  3. Chris · · Reply

    Thank you both for writing about the continued “greatness” of Powell and Land of Talk. I love this band. I’ve loved them and the music Miss Powell has birthed since I saw them open up for Broken Social Scene in Tallahassee, FL. They took the stage and absolutely blew me and everyone in the room away. I came for BSS, but fell in love with LoT.

    Her vulnerability both on stage and on the albums are something that truly drew me to the music in the beginning. In Some Are Lakes’s “Trouble” we find, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard and Powell, at least vocally, at her most vulnerable. That being said, I have no idea what she’s saying as she sings in French, but it’s beautiful. In this case, can’t “emotionally vulnerable and complex” be the same thing? To me, as I listen to Powell sing on this track and on songs like “Better and Closer” I can feel the emotion and things she seems to be going through. And that is the mark of great music, music that give you the “feels” so to speak. It’s like when I heard Bon Iver’s “For Emma, Forever Ago” for the first time. I couldn’t remember hearing an album that evoked feelings of isolation and introspection before.

    Analysis aside, the one thing that is clear is that Land of Talk is sorely missed. I wish there wasn’t such an abrupt end to the life of the band. I wish I knew what Elizabeth Powell was doing and what music she might be working on. You’re right, she would fit in perfectly with today’s St. Vincent and Sharon Von Etten’s and what a wonderful St. Vincent tour it would be with Land of Talk on the bill.

  4. gallons · · Reply

    Thanks, Chris! Agreed on pretty much all counts.

    -gallons

  5. laura elise · · Reply

    I’m so fascinated when I find that other people enjoy the same bands that I do, but have completely different opinions about their work – I love all of Land of Talk’s releases, but I enjoy ‘Cloak & Cipher’ more than ‘Some Are Lakes,’ and I think ‘Lakes’ sounds way more overproduced than ‘Cipher.’ “It’s Okay” is a lovely song, but I almost never find myself craving a listen to it, along with a few other tracks from that album. I agree that ‘ACBH’ is the most “immediate” release from them (that’s a great word to describe it, by the way), but I’m astounded that you mentioned so many songs from it but left out “All My Friends” and “Street Wheels,” which, I think, are the two strongest songs from the EP. To be clear, I’m not trying to start an argument, I’m just interested in how different our opinions are about this band.

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned here yet, Liz played a set at the Roots North Music Festival a couple of months ago, so that’s something. Here’s a clip: https://youtu.be/ZMHnU9Xk9Hw

  6. gallons · · Reply

    Hi Laura,

    It is interesting when that happens. While disagreements about song or album preference are common and simply a matter of taste, I can’t possibly imagine how you hear “Cloak” as more produced than “Lakes.” As far as I can tell, there are zero bells or whistles attached to “Lakes”—it’s just the sounds a three piece rock band makes when playing its instruments. “Cloak,” on the other hand, is swathed in bells (literally), keys, extra percussion, etc. This, to me, is “over-production.” Anyway, thanks very much for the live clip, thrilled to see she’s still at it!

    -gallons

    1. laura elise · · Reply

      Yeah, there is a lot more going on on ‘Cloak.’ When I said “overproduced,” what I meant had more to do with the overall sound of the record (how it was mixed/mastered) than how many instruments are being played. ‘Lakes’ sounds glossy to me; like shiny, polished plastic. It’s not as gritty, not as raw, not as warm, not as human-sounding as the other releases, in my opinion. It sounds too perfect, too rehearsed, and sterile – especially after ‘ACBH.’ The vocals are more pronounced than on the other releases, so the lyrics are easier to decipher, and some of them sound childish or dumbed-down to my ears (“it’s okay, we all feel left out/sometimes growing up, it can get you down” and “bad things just aren’t bigger than you” and basically all of the lyrics to “Death By Fire” and “Got a Call” make me cringe a little every time I hear them). I think “Some Are Lakes” and “It’s Okay” are the closest Land of Talk has ever come to radio-friendly pop-rock (and yes, I do think that’s a bad thing). The album is even predictably named after its first single. I love “Corner Phone,” “Yuppy Flu,” “Man Who Breaks Things,” and “Give Me Back My Heart Attack,” but the second I heard the tape hiss, the weird clip of Liz talking, the wiry guitar sound and the distorted, buried vocals on the first track of ‘Cloak,’ I felt relieved that they went back to some of the lo-fi grittiness they had on ‘ACBH.’ There are more slower songs on ‘Cloak,’ but I think they’re darker (lyrically and sonically) than the slower ones on ‘Lakes,’ and there’s nothing as obviously radio-friendly as “Lakes” or “Okay,” except maybe “Quarry Hymns.” I forgot to mention before that I agree with you about the songs on ‘Cloak’ repeating the hooks too many times, though. But the bottom line is, when I listen to ‘Lakes’ I tend to skip over most of the songs except the few that I mentioned before, and when I listen to ‘Cloak,’ the only one I always skip over is “Color Me Badd.” I think “Blangee Blee” is a little weak, too. But I even like the hidden track on ‘Cloak’ better than some of the album tracks on ‘Lakes.’ Sorry this is so long… I don’t know how that happened. I thought this would just be a quick reply.

  7. gallons · · Reply

    Laura,

    Sounds to me like you’ve got a case of the anti-pop blues. Which is a real shame, because the moments Powell makes herself accessible (really, the moments any difficult artist makes themselves accessible) are the most exciting, to my mind, because it’s a glimpse through the weird occluded mire that usually surrounds her stuff. I have no problem with any of the lyrics you’re talking about—they’re just more direct than the stuff on “Cloak,” which I believe was literally copied and pasted out of newspapers and such.

    I also still think “Cloak” is the shiniest sounding of the bunch. “Lakes” is warm, “Cloak” has sheen. Regardless, point is—radio is not yr enemy, not that any of this stuff would’ve ever made it onto the radio anyway.

    -gallons

  8. Concerned Citizen · · Reply

    I’m sure this is old news to anyone who comes across this post, but Elizabeth Powell seems to no longer be hiding. She first turned up at a music festival in Orillia, Ontario, at the end of April, and she’s playing two shows there this month (billed as herself) supporting other artists. It’s possibly too soon to call it a comeback, but performances two weeks apart after vanishing for four years is definitely something. She could be thinking about putting a band back together; she could be testing the waters as a solo act; or maybe she’s settled down to the point where she can play music again with no regrets of leaving her rock star dreams behind.

    Lizzie herself may not know what she’s doing yet, so my speculations mean nothing. Still, I can’t help but wonder what an Elizabeth Powell project, without Land of Talk, would sound like. My best guess is imagining something like “Lossless,” the B-side of the “Swift Coin” single. The rhythm section consists of a simple drum loop and a syncopated one-note bass line. Lizzie’s acoustic guitar sounds like it’s reverberating through a house of mirrors, while her vocals (perhaps the most indecipherable lyrics she’s ever produced) layer in beautiful harmonies through the atmosphere provided by some unidentifiable instrument. The song is dense, it is confounding, it is spectacular; it manages to sound like everything and nothing Land of Talk ever recorded at once. I yearn to hear more songs like it.

  9. I so wish I knew she was playing in Orillia I so would have gone. I was such a big fan of land of talk. Probably one of my favorite all time female vocalists.

  10. Malcolm · · Reply

    So great to come back to this and see so many thoughtful replies! Two days ago I was able to see the band perform in Williamsburg. It was great to see Powell perform, sure, but man it was straight up magical to have Bucky Wheaton back on drums. I remember being sixteen and watching the AOL Spinner’s Interface videos of them playing together and, somehow, the energy was the same on stage nearly ten years later. Chemistry’s a loaded and incorrect term, but the two play well off of each other. There was that kind of inter-band intimacy on stage that may have been lacking during the Cloak and Cipher days. I feel the need to take back what I wrote a few years ago: Powell arranges and performs amazingly on stage alone, but Land of Talk is more fun and vivid with Bucky (and Besnard Lakes, of course). Some are Lakes, as an album, definitely benefits from the collaboration, but so does ACBH.

    Their newest, unreleased music are their best. If you liked Young Bridge, Breaxxbaxx, or All My Friends, give “Holy Shit” a listen. “This Time” sounds like an upbeat response to “Quarry Hymns.” It’s all so good and meshed wonderfully with “Yuppy Flu” and “Color Me Badd.” It’s reductive to draw direct comparisons between songs, but the new music really does sound like the answer to Land of Talk’s discography as a whole; it’s a reckoning and transcending of what we’ve known. Equal parts of the previous albums (and Fun and Laughter) plus some Chemical X. The songs stand above their individual, phenomenal parts.

    Hope you all get to see them play soon! My apologies to gallons for being so nitpickey. I loved this piece and its candor. Here’s to the next album!

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