Album Leaf Into the Blue Again

The Album Leaf’s last album, In a Safe Place, found Jimmy LaValle in Iceland working with members of Sigur Rós and other notable atmospheric musicians. One would think that being back home would constitute a safe place, but instead the theme of this new effort is that of journeying. This could be from a yearning to go to faraway places again, or maybe it’s the hope that these electronic compositions will electrify the imagination. The opener, "The Light,” is the album masterpiece as this downbeat ambient number sets the stage beautifully with a light piano over minimal tones. One can hardly want a better introduction to transcendental electronic wizardry. Unfortunately, LaValle takes a turn towards pop in a couple of songs that stand out among the shy isolation of the rest. Where the slight house of "Red-Eye” reflects the awkward, but intelligent, kid in the corner, the pop vocals of "Always for You” are the more forward, yet socially inept partygoer. Yet, Blue coalesces wonderfully as it is LaValle’s unyielding vision of warmth and subtlety that allows his various experiments, from ambient to glitch, to fully bloom. Won’t you join him on his own personal journey? (Sub Pop)