The Album Leaf
A Chorus Of Storytellers


2.0
poor

Review

by Ponton EMERITUS
February 1st, 2010 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You might as well just return to your Sigur Ros or Do Make Say Think albums.

Jimmy LaValle seems like he would be a tense, young lad, given that he always seems to be playing second, English-language fiddle to genre giants like Sigur Ros or Do Make Say Think in the post-rock genre. Living out a career in the shadows of titans like these can drive one to push for improvement in each subsequent release in hopes of one day obtaining that god-like status, to step out and create a niche for their perfected blend of melodic, instrumental music. Last album Into The Blue was arguably the artist’s best release yet, as he brought together his influences with some honey-tinged vocal melodies and displayed for listeners his fresh suit of experience that he had sowed together from several years in the industry. In efforts to continue this trend in improvement, Jimmy has called together a full-on band to fill in some of the gaps on new release A Chorus Of Storytellers. Well good intentions are always nice, right" However, instead of filling in gaps, it seems Jimmy and crew have created some unavoidable-to-miss holes.

Getting straight to the issue: The Album Leaf’s A Chorus of Storytellers suffers from problems with its flow as an album. While flow is a vital characteristic of any album from any given genre, flow in the post-rock and IBM worlds is an integral foundation of the music that determines if the audible landscape that an artist has created will actually reach its full potential as a listening experience. The album starts off by trying to build into an ethereal feel with opener “Perro” and the ironically-titled “Blank Pages”. This is fine and dandy, if not traditional and expected, but the buildup of the latter is quickly traded in for the first example of vocal melodies to be heard on the album in “Within Dreams”. If anything, the docile nature of “Perro” is a questionable inclusion on the album, especially considering the fact that “Blank Pages” would have opened up the album in a better way. Other examples of questionable track purposes and awkward transitions can be found in the sleep-inducing “Summer Fog” that’s sandwiched between the upbeat pleasantries of both “Stand Still” and “Until The Last”. It seems that Jimmy has forgotten when and where the proper touch on an album is needed to settle the listener properly, or, in contrast, arouse him to a standing ovation.

For what it’s worth, LaValle’s set of delicate chops are well-suited inclusions on his albums that generally fair better in comparison to those of many post-rock singers. However, the main fault with the vocal-lead tracks on A Chorus of Storytellers is how and where they are implemented. For example, the next time we hear these vocal melodies after the third track are on “Falling From The Sun”, “We Are”, and “Almost There”. Every song that happens to be between these tracks--though, it should be mentioned that “We Are” and “Almost There” are placed right next to each other on the track listing--just feel like segues to these far-better songs. Obviously, this couldn’t have been The Album Leaf’s intentions for the album as six out of ten main tracks acting as interludes would just be lazy music creation. Unfortunately, though, the electronic and instrumental escapades that the band displays on these vocal-less tracks on A Chorus of Storytellers are rather elementary; the only places that The Album Leaf really shine are to be found on the proper build-to-hopeful vestiges on “Until The Last” and the aforementioned foreshadowing of something greater on “Blank Pages”. More often than not, listeners who pick up this album will probably skip over half of it just to reach the electro-pop, vocal gems where the project really shines.

Only four out of ten tracks are actually worth listening to on A Chorus of Storytellers" We have a problem. I’m not sure what exactly happened between 2006’s Into The Blue and now, but Jimmy LaValle has noticeably regressed in his electronic post-rock, composition skills. The inclusion of a full-on band sounds like it should be a nice touch on paper, but in actuality, it’s really hard to tell what exactly these extra musicians add to LaValle’s sound that wasn’t already there to begin with. If anything, it’s logical to conclude that the band has actually taken something away from the San Diego project. In conclusion, I think it’s safe to say that we can just toss this one in with the subpar, post-rock hamper that's already filled to the brim. You might as well just return to your Sigur Ros or Do Make Say Think albums--A Chorus of Storytellers has nothing on those guys.



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


Album stream:

http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/luisterpaal/43049477#luisterpaal.43049477

Digging: Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Knott-
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


10198 Comments


lol just writing about this right now, we seem to have the same albums on our to-do lists haha. undecided exactly on the rating but it'll probably be the same too... might well not bother :P

Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


Again?! Haha, wow. Sorry to get another one.

Waior
February 1st 2010


11630 Comments


aw drat this was supposed to be good

Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


Album has poor flow and track placing.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i remember thinking this was distinctly average but i'm going to give it another run through now before i decide on a rating



good review as always!

Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


Thanks, Kiran. I'm surrounded by contributors.

Guy has pleasing vocals at least.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

brief, unorganized thoughts: 'almost there' is soooooo bland and by far the worst song here but the rest of the album is actually better than i remember on initial listen but still not great. lots of nice little nuances, like the second half of 'blank pages' and the two vocal tracks that aren't 'almost there'. 'we are' should've been placed somewhere in the middle though and instead have the album close at the much more appropriate 'until the last' and cut those last two tracks after because they just drag the whole thing on. i want to give this a 3 because i enjoy this and, at least on the first half, i enjoy the mood/atmosphere it creates but i'll probably settle on a 2.5 because its all so muddled and directionless mainly due to, like you said in the review, poor track placement which in turn causes poor flow.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


Hmm, "Almost There" seemed okay to me, but yeah, I agree on the whole of what you said.

It's so odd that "We Are" and "Almost There" are together. There's only four vocal tracks, so why not space them out.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


10198 Comments


Jared you like Boards of Canada?

AggravatedYeti
February 1st 2010


7684 Comments


these dudes always kinda bored the crap outta me.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


Jared you like Boards of Canada?


Definitely, Geogaddi is one of my favorites.

Romulus
February 1st 2010


8479 Comments


Aw I really liked the last album from these guys (edit: /this guy) although admittedly I had no idea this was coming out. I'll still probably give it a listen

Ponton
Emeritus
February 1st 2010


6136 Comments


You might like it, but I think that it's a step down. The band he used this time didn't really help things.

LMP21
February 1st 2010


6 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

From www.lexingtonmusicpress.com

The Album Leaf

A Chorus Of Storytellers

Sub Pop

( 3.0 / 5.0 )



Quiet and relaxing in nature, The Album Leaf focuses on the orchestrated beauty in music rather than the vocals that can accompany it. Chorus is LeValle's fifth release, and is the first album to have been co-written by his touring band. Each track is another realm of sincere emotion and talent, but therein also lies the problem with The Album Leaf. There's such a thing as being too calming for your own good, and that's where Chorus loses us. This album is best played at bedtime, because it will surely make you fall asleep. The instrumentals are magnificent, but the arrangements lack variety in tempo and levels, keeping things from ever really growing or expanding. This may be the perfect album for background music, but chances are you won't be pulling this disc out too often. (www.subpop.com)

offsciencehill
May 20th 2010


2 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

an instrumental album by Jimmy LaValle. i wonder what that could sound like . .

Sheeple9000
October 28th 2010


1349 Comments


I think it's better than a "2"

Valixous
July 28th 2013


65 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Far better than a 2. It doesn't have any huge memorable tracks. But the album as a whole is so pleasant and easy to listen to. I think it's a great little album. You just need to have patience.

Artuma
July 28th 2013


29118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

far better than a 2 [2]

bloodshy
September 13th 2015


25 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Not enough mention of the shitty sound effects and instrument choices.



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