Music Around Town

Land of Talk

When: Sun., Sept. 19 2010

Land of Talk is another one of those not-really-a-band bands. Since forming in 2005, the only constant member has been singer Elizabeth Powell, rounded out by a few short-termers and a whole lot of guests. The group's music molds around Powell's vocals, so it makes sense that she's the centerpiece here. Rich and powerful, yet always peering over the edge of trembling fragility, her voice levels Land of Talk's sound, allowing bass, drums, and guitar to foil and complement in equal measure. When she walks the line of tenderness, the band makes sure the sound stays rooted, keeping the music from tripping over itself. When Powell belts, the group backs off a bit, underscoring her power with gentle prettiness. Over time, this approach has moved Land of Talk away from their early days, when they played popped-up and moody guitar-driven indie rock. With this summer's Cloak and Cipher, Land of Talk indulge their sense of textural interplay almost to an extreme. The album plays more like a suite, with passages moving into and out of one another. The push and pull are still here, but they focus more on subtlety than surprise this time. And they make the moments of unhinged, unbridled rock all the more satisfying. — Nicholas Hall

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