The Album Leaf
2003 / 2005
Acuela / Better Looking
As always, the control and restraint shown in LaValle's arrangements is what sets it apart from similar artists. The layering of keys, mechanical drums and drones perfuses into something that transcends the loose parts and becomes a whole, without any form of rushing or forced excitement. As we may have said about The Album Leaf's previous releases as well, this genre isn't for the masses. You need to open yourself up and let the music guide you. Don't try to get something out of the music but let the music give it to you. It's the only way this is going to work. If you are able to, "Seal Beach" will offer up its secret power for you to enjoy.
There are five studio recordings and five live recordings, though there is hardly a difference between them, except for the audience appreciation on the live tracks. But instead of experiencing the EP as 10 tracks, the music seamlessly fuses together the tracks into an A-side (studio recordings) and a B-side (live recordings), which creates an epic and introspective journey that really doesn't need words to be told. Which is exactly where LaValle shines.
The one track I will mention seperately is One Minute, which ends the studio part of the disc. It's mellow guitar track and uplifting character will have you recounting memories in your own head. This way, the song will speak to every listener in a different manner, which is quite the achievement. "Seal Beach" is another strong showing by The Album Leaf and hopefully it won't be the last.