Album Leaf In A Safe Place

Though normally based in the sunny locale of San Diego, California, Jimmy Lavalle decided to haul the Album Leaf to far off Iceland to record his Sub Pop debut. Inspired by his tours with Sigur Rós, the relocation has done him some good, transforming his echo-laden instrumentals into a whole new beast. In A Safe Place surpasses his previous albums significantly, in large part to the cast of characters involved. With members of Sigur Rós, Múm, Amina (Sigur Rós’s string section) and Black Heart Procession (with whom Lavalle has served time) chipping in, the Album Leaf has perfected the unification between the dreamy electronica and instrumental rock, something he always managed to narrowly miss out on. Enough can’t be said for the string players on songs like "Twenty Two Fourteen” and "Streamside,” who steal the show placing much needed yet delicate stress on Lavalle’s tender-hearted songs. Most impressive about this new record is the inclusion of vocals, something that has not be emphasised enough. Lavalle has admitted it was Iceland that brought it out in him to sing, but using Jon Thor Birgisson for "Over The Pond,” a song Sigur Rós should have claimed for their next record, was a smart move on all accounts. (Sub Pop)