Review Summary: A haunting album that only gets better as you listen to it more.
Much of Unwound’s work is hard to fully appreciate at first, as Leaves Turn Inside You
especially proves; this reviewer spent a year trying to realize what all the fuss was about. And it's not hard to imagine what was so off-putting for me: opening with two minutes of nothing but feedback, this seminal album swiftly transfers into a melancholic hodgepodge of epic post-rock, dream pop, noise rock, and moody, subdued instrumentals. Unwound do all these styles very well, along with the guitar-led, mellow yet lyrically anxious indie rock that dominates much of the rest of the album. But, problem is, they never provide an easy entry point, like an overwhelmingly catchy song to attach to as an introduction, or something. Even worse for newbies, this album is best to be listened to as a whole, which is not an easy task, considering it’s eighty minutes long and very ambitious.
Of course, the work spent trying to immerse yourself in Leaves Turn Inside You
will pay off immeasurably. While less direct and softer than Unwound’s other post-hardcore-cum-noise-rock stuff, the same general feel of angst and dread of those records remain, only a lot more overbearing, considering that a lot of the anger of those records is replaced with something more melancholic. Musically, Unwound shift and change their sound entirely into a sort of mid-tempo indie-rock (along with those other aforementioned genres), switching from the distorted (“Scarlette”), to the dreamy (“One Lick Less”), and to the epic (“Below the Salt”) with ease. Mind you, LTIY
is a very depressing listen. This is mostly due to singer Justin Trosper’s lonesome wail and the general plodding pace of the songs, among other things, like the sense of general dread the Godspeed-like “Terminus” creates. But it’s depressing in a good way; instead of being brutally direct with his declarations of angst, Trosper’s lyrics are much more emphatic and warming. This creates almost a therapeutic effect with the listener; LTIY
, once icy and intimating, becomes a daily necessity.
Basically, Leaves Turn Inside You
will ingrain and eventually take over your life, like a dirty parasite. You should let it.