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A Chorus of Storytellers

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iTunes Review

For his fifth studio album, James LaValle brought his touring band into the studio for the first time. (His previous albums were all performed solo.) The snowcaps and icy ambient tones are still present (“Perro,” “Blank Pages”) but a strong backbeat and stronger melodies with audible vocals (“There Is a Wind,” “Falling from the Sun,” “We Are,” “Almost There”) practically make this mood-altering group a pop ensemble for a few moments. Recorded just outside Seattle in February 2009 and mixed in Reykjavik, Iceland by Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jon Birgisson, A Chorus of Storytellers features a wide sonic expanse that excels at running in place. “Within Dreams” uses an austere setting with just nibbling rhythms to display the glorious keyboard chords that arrive in waves. “Stand Still” builds the intensity but never disturbs the dreamscape; its keyboards continue to find new pockets to fill. “Until the Last” continues the forward flow with cascading piano notes leading to the hopeful vibe of “We Are.” It’s all quite a meditative journey.

Customer Reviews

Please no more Singing !

Good album except for there are to many vocal songs. Ive been a fan since One Day I'll Be On Time, own every record, been to many shows, The Album Leaf is truly amazing. Their instrumetal songs are awesome. I just can't stand the songs with vocals. I have the same feeling toward Mogwai and Ulrich Schnauss the few songs with vocals are not good sounding and unnecessary...

A Fantastic New Record.

For anyone skeptical that Jimmy relinquishing full creative control could ruin The Album Leaf, Worry no More! Despite the fact that this record is the first time TAL recorded as a full band, the songs have never been better..

A Chorus of Storytellers is a beautifully composed album, it seems to glide much more seamlessly from song to song with a much more gently Ebb and Flow than, say their Green Tour EP or Red Tour EP, which felt more like a bunch of great songs which were stuffed together on a record with no correlation.

I think that this record REALLY picks up in the back half. Songs like "Summer Fog" and "Until The Last" set a bright, yet pensive tone. "We Are" is one of Mr. LaVelle's vocally strongest, well-composed songs ever.

I really hope that this record receives the recognition and accolades it deserves, old and new fans alike are sure to not be disappointed. "Tied Knots" is a perfect closer and reminds me a little of Olafur Arnalds "Ljosio"; it really leaves you content and wanting to have the whole experience all over again. The record's been on iTunes for a little more than a few hours and I''ve already gone through it four times.

I am happy that the group has chosen to work all together on this record, it is really a great listen. Check it out now.

no more singing

I concur with the review below. I recently bought an album from this band, and when I heard singing I lost interest. I was under the impression they were an instrumental band, because their instrumentals are beautiful.


Formed: 1999 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Album Leaf began as the solo project of Jimmy LaValle, a San Diego-based songwriter who started 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)...
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A Chorus of Storytellers, The Album Leaf
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