Review: Land of Talk | Cloak and Cipher

Saddle Creek (2010)
By RYAN STEWART  |  August 31, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars


A lot of people are going to love this album. Fair enough — Land of Talk's songwriting style resembles that of other Canadians who've enjoyed success in the States. Specifically, Broken Social Scene and their various offshoots (main Talkie Elizabeth Powell was once a BSS collaborator), with all those shout-along choruses and guitar hooks.

The first four songs here are all solid, especially the soaring "Goaltime Exposure," which seems destined for a television soundtrack appearance, and the driving "Swift Coin." If the album were to stop there, it'd be a triumphant EP. But somewhere between the tender "Color Me Badd" and "The Hate I Won't Commit," their game attempt at '90s indie-rock abrasiveness, my attention started to wander.

The songs all melt together after a while — they're charming but not memorable. Perhaps that's because Powell's Feist-y voice, though pleasant, can be a little weightless. But the bigger issue is the sequencing: at 10 tracks and 48 minutes, Cloak and Cipher is not a long album, but the front loading makes it a bit of a slog.

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