19 Dec 2015
The Leaf Library - Daylight Versions
Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz
London band the Leaf Library takes a leaf from the page of various psych/drone/shoegaze genres and mash it all together into a fine pulp, complete with woozy melodies, cheerful female vocals, and an obvious love for Yo La Tengo, Flying Nun, and other bands who most likely revere The Velvet Underground.
Opening track “Asleep Between Stations” merges all these influences into one solid tune, and includes some fine sax playing from guest musician Ben Gates. “Tilting” has a more gentle approach, lapsing into the background but remaining present in your mind as its warmth works its magic on you. I really like the flourish of trumpet that embellishes this tune and elevates it from the norm. “Slow Spring” unfolds like the lazy meandering of a sparkling stream, revealing all its bright currents as it flows through you. The hushed percussion works well here, maintaining the laid back feel of this song. “Acre” draws from "Spirit of Eden" era Talk Talk, and channels the spooky ambience of that classic album. It is contemplative, and at times soporific music that lulls you into its perfect beauty. “Sailing Day” is another song in the same vein, though it veers off down a slippery psych path with cool synth flourishes. “Rings of Saturn” almost reminds me of Flying Saucer Attack, droning organs laced with airy vocals and restrained instrumentation. In fact, as the song moves forward, it also reminds me of classic late period Talk Talk.
Much of the music here swoons and dives between post rock, dream pop, and ambient electronic music. But I think it also transcends any of these labels and becomes less about naming the influence and more about experiencing the music as a suite of songs. “Summer Moon” is stripped back to simple instrumentation, and is delightfully pretty. “Evening Gathers” is as lovely a song as you may hear this year, with its luminous grooves that slowly rise to a percussive maelstrom and then settle gently back down.
I can come up with any number of descriptions for this lovely, cinematic record, one which evokes long, languid summers and pastoral beauty. Writers often compare The Leaf Library to Stereolab, Epic 45, and Movietone, as well as the aforementioned bands. I most often hear them evoking Yo La Tengo and Talk Talk, but they also bring their own special brand of beauty to the table. Be prepared for anything and experience this on your own, one of the loveliest releases I have heard this autumn.
Available here (UK), and here (US).