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Between Waves (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Between Waves is the first major release by electronic post-rock mainstays the Album Leaf in the six years since their final Sub Pop album A Chorus of Storytellers. During that time, the group recorded a soundtrack (Torey's Distraction, 2012) and an EP (Forward/Return, 2014), and leader Jimmy LaVelle collaborated with Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek on 2013's Perils from the Sea. Between Waves is the group's debut for Relapse Records, which might be surprising to some fans considering that the label is mainly associated with extreme metal, but it makes a little more sense when taking into account the presence of cinematic, synth-heavy artists like Steve Moore/Zombi and S U R V I V E on the label, as well as Nothing, who have more in common with shoegaze than metal. What's more surprising than Relapse releasing music by the Album Leaf is the fact that Between Waves is their most pop-focused work yet. Only a few tracks have vocals, but these songs sound almost polished enough for radio, or perhaps some sort of teen drama movie or series. Even the instrumental numbers are far more focused and structured than anything the band has written before, lacking the experimental ambient drift of their earlier work. The rhythms are propulsive, seamlessly combining skittering IDM beats and chopped-up live drums; "Back to the Start" is particularly impressive, starting off with a Moroder-lite disco rhythm before adding tricky, shifting drums and eventually a wistful, starry-eyed melody played by keyboards and horns. The songs progress evenly and without force, typically starting out calm and gradually swelling up and becoming more ecstatic. It's not uncommon for these songs to bloom into something celebratory during their second half, such as on the rippling, shimmering "Wandering Still." Between Waves is easily the strongest, most inspired Album Leaf release in at least a decade. [Between Waves was also released on LP.]

Customer Reviews

Mekagawdzilla

Always brilliant. I hope they tour for this one. Still gotta get an album leaf tattoo so I can get free show access for life :)

Absolutely Fantastic!!!!!!!!

While being an Album Leaf listener for years, I recently had the pleasure of seeing these guys perform this album live in Dallas and Austin. Fantastic musical ability and a seasoned way of putting their talent together with these perfectly mastered songs. Grab some headphones that offer plenty of bass and enjoy!!

Magical & Brilliant

This might be my first time reviewing on iTunes but man, I had the supreme pleasure of catching these guys perform last night in San Francisco and they are the textbook definition of "music to my ears" I was blown away in a beautiful wash/waves of sound, emanating from these extremely talented musicians on stage. Type of music you can close your eyes to and be transported to a totally distant and beautiful world, galaxy, universe, dimension. Do yourself a favor and make sure to catch these guys whenever you have an opportunity to do so! You will be very very happy you did :-) The album is excellent too, and as amazing as it sounds, sounds even better live!

Biography

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)...
Full Bio
Between Waves (Deluxe Version), The Album Leaf
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