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Album Review

The Album Leaf – “Between Waves” [Album Review]

With their new release attempting to straddle the line between the cold, ethereal world of digital and the warmth of natural feeling, is it possible for the The Album Leaf’s Between Waves to provide a soundtrack to reflective solitude, while also managing to stand on its own as an instrumental album?



Sitting down to this album, it becomes apparent that it’s namesake should be the thing that the listener focuses on. The groove-informed bass beats and syncopated synth tracks gain their power from the time signatures and rhythms that have the power to energize and lull on a whim, which comes in, for lack of a better phrase, waves. The strength of this album is the choice made by the artist when to decide to include lyrics and when to let the music do the talking. That and the music itself, which serenades, cascades, and broods in turns, the sampled synth parts managing to sound both original and familiar. The familiar parts, too, manage to sound naturalistic, even primal, while utilizing both digital and analogue instrumentation.

The whole offering sounds like a love letter to lo-res ambient gifs, with an exultant tone that at times channels Ghibli and at other times old ’70s sci fi soundtracks. This is not to say Between Waves is retro in its presentation; quite the opposite in fact. This is future music in the present, which an awareness of the past, with an eye to the softer side of things. The strength of The Album Leaf is in their focus on the melody of life, rather than its uglier aspects; this is the music you’d recline to while taking the hover train into New America Capital 002, the mecha adept city founded in the ashes of World War 3, with fond memories of family in the Old Country playing in your mind. At least that’s what I get out of it.

What matters most is what you can get out of this recording. For my money, it’s peace and exultant reflection, and not much that’s coming out these days can effectively carry this mood in an electronic approach without pissing me off. So kudos to The Album Leaf for releasing an album that I can lounge to without souring up the affair with electro swing inclinations. That and for creating and sculpting a genuinely beautiful release that will remain part of the ammunition I use from now on to help foster a reflective headspace.

Between Waves Track Listing:

01. False Dawn
02. Glimmering Lights
03. New Soul
04. Back To The Start
05. Wandering Still
06. Never Far
07. Lost In The Fog
08. Between Waves

Run Time: 40:41
Release Date: August 26, 2016

Check out “Between Waves”

Director of Communications @ V13. Lance Marwood is a music and entertainment writer who has been featured in both digital and print publications, including a foreword for the book "Toronto DIY: (2008-2013)" and The Continuist. He has been creating and coordinating content for V13 since 2015 (back when it was PureGrainAudio); before that he wrote and hosted a radio and online series called The Hard Stuff , featuring interviews with bands and insight into the Toronto DIY and wider hardcore punk scene. He has performed in bands and played shows alongside acts such as Expectorated Sequence, S.H.I.T., and Full of Hell.