The Album Leaf
In A Safe Place


2.5
average

Review

by Nick Greer EMERITUS
August 9th, 2006 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


The Album Leaf - In a Safe Place

Most post-rock bands take a simple melodic idea and build it into a giant, huge crescendo. To do this, they start small and simply, and allow their idea to accrete a drum beat, a chord progression, maybe violin. The band Explosions in the Sky has the motto "From Silence to Violence," suggesting this exact process; they don't vary melody and harmony as much as they do dynamics, instrumentation, and the overall furious energy and passion of their songs. The band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, for example, even uses multi-part songs lasting up to half an hour to move through their giant, imposing concepts, similarly going from troughs to crests and back again. This formula is the backbone of post-rock as a genre, and a band's particular niche in the genre, is determined as much by their key selection and instrumentation as it is by the degree to which they adhere or diverge from this standard. GY!BE uses tons of large highs and lows, making their pieces sound well-thought out and precise. Red Sparrowes rarely dip below a certain intensity level and instead spread out their peaks by having smoother tones and effects during midtempo sections and by having faster, more intense and dissonant passages to reel in crescendos. The Album Leaf begins their songs with "silence" but never reach "violence." All of their songs are consonant, and never reach the harrowing heights of GY!BE or even Soli i Sombra. They all feel like they never step above the particular indie stylings of bands like American Football and Appleseed Cast. So, does this mean their brand of post-rock is unique and wonderful for straying from the genre paradigm in a new way? The answer is just "sort of" on both accounts.

In terms of being unique, their style on a larger level in the eyes of post-rock, yes, is indeed a new variety. However, this is because on a smaller level, they are snagging techniques from alternative, indie, and pop music that allow them to be engrossing and fun at their peaks, which aren't particularly intense or insane. As mentioned earlier they invoke the stylings of American Football, Appleseed Cast, Elliott, and tons of other indie bands that feel very calm and lo-fi, even at their peaks. Similarly they use pretty guitar arpeggios, slow repeating bass lines, and plodding drums. In addition are slight flourishes of violin and trumpet, very much like the instrumentation of certain American Football songs. Also, the most different instrument is the drums, which typically lay out for most of a song, or sound like computer generated blipping that sound exactly like the clicking drumming during the outro to "Matroshka" by Dredg. Overall, anything you hear on this album is a rehashing of stuff that's been done before.

Now, though, in terms of being wonderful, at moments The Album Leaf are super enjoyable, but as an album In a Safe Place has some unfortunate flaws. It is way too homogenous, which is likely due to the lack of distinct peaks and valleys. Individually the songs plod on a lot, and as a whole the album too gets mushy as the song divisions blur together. This relegates the album to background music quality, and even then it leads me ask to "which song is this again?" whenever I've zoned out while listening to this. And although there is this unfortunate flaw, in general, the songs are really enjoyable. It's tough to dislike music that is so consonant without being sappy. Everything on this album is sweet, but doesn't cloy, making it instantly likable, though it has no long term value. So, I'd say that this album is great if I only had to listen to it once, or maybe if I heard a few of the better songs on a mix tape a friend gave to me, but this won't be making any Top 10 lists any time soon.

Recommended Tracks: Track 3, the one that's nice to listen to when falling asleep with your girlfriend oh wait that's all of them



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user ratings (134)
Chart.
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great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Wildhoodlum
August 9th 2006


45 Comments


So, DFel got my album selections...

Good job on the review, as expected. I agree with you completely, except I'd rate this a little higher.

SquierStrat3k1
August 9th 2006


20 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thule is incredible. Outer Banks is also very good. The rest of the album is average, nice to listen to when chilling out. If you like this album get the James Figurine album.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 9th 2006


2125 Comments


I pretty much agree. I like 'Streamside' a lot, I always try to write songs like that.

TheNewJungler
August 9th 2006


30 Comments


Brilliant review, I didn't even know selections had been sent...

Wildhoodlum
August 9th 2006


45 Comments


[quote=TheNewJungler]Brilliant review, I didn't even know selections had been sent...[/quote]
The reviews were due today, buddy boy. I guess all of us hijacked folk are S.O.L. :p

DFelon204409
Emeritus
August 10th 2006


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It just became so hard to say stuff about this album because if you just listened to like one American Football song, you'd sum up what this band is. Not bad, but nothing revolutionary. It's unfortunate. They could have done a lot more with those cool melodies.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 11th 2006


2125 Comments


This dude used to be in The Locust.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
August 11th 2006


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wait me? Haha no.

chris21
March 14th 2008


159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this albums really good, i agree they could have done abit more with the melodies though. It all seems abit too samey throughout but i guess that's the way they wanted to construct the album. Twentytwofourteen is one of my favourite's off this album.

brutebeard
September 10th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is quite beautiful though

crazyblinddude
September 10th 2010


3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. My first of the discog. Love his work.

Romulus
September 10th 2010


8437 Comments


Yeah I really like this, I always thought The Album Leaf was a bit under-appreciated here.

emptyblackbox
June 27th 2011


30 Comments


Would you all say this one's better than Into the Blue Again?

Iamthe Nightstars
July 7th 2011


2261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"On Your Way" is my favorite on here. Beautiful lyrics too. I wish this album featured more vocals. "Over the Pond" makes me think of Sigur Ros.

EyeForAnEye
October 9th 2011


1692 Comments


Heard the song window on this Youtube vid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo
Literally one of the only instances where I've teared up over a Youtube video.

minty901
March 30th 2013


2018 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

is this the album to start with for getting into the album leaf?



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