Album Review: Land of Talk – ‘Indistinct Conversations’
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From the moment one flips on Land of Talks’ new record, Indistinct Conversations, a wave of humanity washes over them. The album is all about the healing process, even acting as an extension of the air of recovery and determination that was felt all throughout previous project Life After Youth. An album that acted as a bridge between Elizabeth Powell and their tumultuous relationship with music, it saw them at a rebirth in their creativity. This has only intensified on Indistinct Conversations where Powell is felt actively shifting through the healing process and their identity. Working through the record, Powell found themselves accepting who they saw themselves to be, a non-binary femme while also focusing on other personal themes regarding relationships and past woes.
Cherry-picked across the record, there’s candid chitchat that makes Indistinct Conversations feel more personable to whoever picks it up- almost as if the listener is in-on the story, the lives, the songs as they hear fragments that consist of “Fuck you, Debbie” or “When the screensaver turns off, I was looking at that” without the rest of the thought to follow.
And, yet it is the songs that swirl around these bite-sized conversations that pull everything together- they are full of color and crisp to the ear where dreamscapes underlaid contemplative words come to life in the gentlest nature. So much of the record is weighted in a new wave of acoustics for Land of Talk, offering a quieter, safer environment that gives Powell the room to explore their own inner psyche.
Indistinct Conversations blossoms with “Diaphanous’” as it wades right into focused guitar work with a reflective tone of personal traumas and inner-conflict. The dependency on instrumentals fade as “Love in 2 Stages” allows Powell’s vocals to take charge and amplify much more tender moments that wax and wane across the record. Elsewhere, “Now You Want to Live in the Light” is the most minimalistic of all the tracks where one feels deeply connected to Powell’s voice. The song plays out in a simple structure, mostly focusing on their voice and a strumming acoustic, causing the listener to feel all too tender for another’s reflection. “Festivals” is another standout on the record that rings with charming lyrics (“If your mouth is a festival, there’s a song in the way you speak”).
As the album transitions, one starts to understand the form of healing that has overtaken Powell with songs that progress from open ending drabbles tied alongside glittering guitars to a state that feels less indecisive and hesitant and more cathartic. Yet, this transition isn’t just felt in the softer moments of the record, it rumbles through tracks like “Footnotes” that take a Land of Talk’s fan back to the band’s roots. Coming across as if Fleetwood Mac were dropped headfirst in the 90’s grunge scene, Powell allows themselves to have a confidence as they stride about acting like the devoted partner they deserve. Even tunes like “A/B Future” rumble with electricity as it builds to a peak that reflects their pedaling journey through confronting themselves head on.
By Indistinct Conversations’ end, one will feel the strength and compassion that bled throughout this record. To see Land of Talk mix a kinder new with their bold and brash roots only proves that the group is just as adaptable and solid in this era of music as they were when they were dominating the loud and unstructured world of indie rock in the 2000s.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great/Phenomenal
Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee
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