Review: Jack Foley
CONTAINED within the sleeve notes of The Album Leaf's latest
long-player is the question, 'so just how did a native of San
Diego, virtually unknown outside of America, end up recording
an album of graceful and haunting beauty with members of Sigur
Ros and Mum in the wilds of Iceland?'
The answer is quite expansive, but no matter. The important thing
is that the artist in question, Jimmy Lavelle, made it, for this
majestic long-player is a true gem, just waiting to be discovered.
Achingly beautiful, and often tear-inducingly sad, Lavelle and
cohorts have created a truly beguiling masterpiece that is perfect
just to sit back and listen to, while dreaming of whatever comes
In A Safe Place is a mesmerising listen from start to
finish, from the slow-building opening strains of window, through
to the heady finale that represents the nine-minute Moss Mountain
Lavelle's work has always been profoundly affected by his environment,
but he could never have predicted the ways in which Iceland's
cold beauty would glacially shape his slow-burning, hypnotic soundscapes.
"I felt like I was on Mars," states the 'sound scientist'.
Free from the distractions of Californian life, and using the
help of cellists, percussionists, pianists and violinists from
both Sigor Ros and Mum, Lavelle has crafted a sweeping, surreal
soundscape that is every bit as breath-taking as some of the landscapes
which inspired it.
And tracks blend together with an effortless ease, never once
interrupting the flow, or the enjoyment of the listen.
The beat which kicks in to mark the start of the upbeat Thule
is perfectly weighted to follow the pensive Window, while
the ticking clocks of On Your Way give way to a perfectly-realised
piece of guitar which is, once again, gradually backed by an under-stated
beat, and, most surprisingly, some rare vocals.
The superlatives come thick and fast...
The Outer Banks, with its tingling pianos and driving
beat, is another compelling moment - the type of which could easily
find its way onto a movie soundtrack.
While the comforting piano strains of Over The Pond
are as quietly uplifting as they are heart-breakingly sad.
I cannot remember the last time an album so profoundly moved
me, such is the magical beauty of the music contained within.
Please, please, please, allow yourself to be captivated by it.