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Into the Blue Again

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Album Review

From the beginning, Jimmy LaValle's Album Leaf project was one of the calmest acts in indie rock. Into the Blue Again proves, as its 2004 predecessor did as well, that the Album Leaf is also becoming one of the tamest acts in indie rock. LaValle is a musical craftsman, and his productions are thoughtful, economical and warm (most of the record was performed by him alone). Like Sigur Rós, whose studio and string section he's used in the past, LaValle understands the power of muted arrangements, of ringing chords, and of drawing out those chords to exactly the right length before repeating them or moving on. These elements could have easily resulted in a great record, but Into the Blue Again isn't great, or even very good. While ambient music with relatively straight-ahead percussion has been a mainstay of indie music from Eno to Black Dog to Sigur Rós themselves, those who have excelled with it have had something interesting to focus on, such as Eno's melodic sense, Black Dog's otherworldly effects, or Sigur Rós' unorthodox instrumentation and use of building dynamics. LaValle's take on ambient music isn't particularly diverting; his melodies are broad and familiar, his drum programming is bland and bar-band-formulaic (that applies also to his compatriot here, Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis), and his vocals are depressive and resigned. Most of Into the Blue Again is instrumental, and it serves well as background music — never sticking out, floating by the listener — but unlike his earlier recordings, there's little here that rewards close listening.

Customer Reviews

Listening too much will ruin a perfect summers day.....

I have to say being more a fan of Alternative Rock eg: TOOL & although I am a massive fan of Sigur Ros, I wasn't expecting a whole lot of anything from this album so when I bought this one I was dipping my hand in a treasure chest with some potentially very dangerous snakes inside. But first track I realised I grabbed a gem. Beautiful counter melodies intertwining, warm and cold together, it allows you to stop listening & just hear the music. His vocals ARE lame, but are rarely used. Don't think Post - Rock (cause it's not) or Electronica or Post Electro - Rocica, think a warm summers day.

Let's not bundle it in with Sigur Ros

Bought this on the recommendation of other reviewer Scotty and have to say that even though our musical takes seemed similar this fell short of expectations. Perhaps if it was an instrumental album I would have liked it better. If you are after something Sigur Ros-ish, while nowhere near the same league, French Teen Idol is worth a listen. I should have bought God is an Astronaut instead of this.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The Album Leaf is the solo project of Jimmy LaValle, a San Diego-based songwriter who began recording solo material one year after forming the post-rock band Tristeza. Inspired by a number of genres — classical, jazz, and post-rock among them — LaValle constructed his own songs in a similarly eclectic manner, utilizing everything from ambient noise to field recordings to radio transmissions. An Orchestrated Rise to Fall introduced the resulting sound in 1999. An EP (In an Off White Room)...
Full Bio