Album Review: The Album Leaf, ‘Between Waves’

Written By Andrew Howie

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of electronic music, but that wasn’t entirely accurate. I’m a fan of electronic music used in a certain way, in a more relaxed and thought-provoking manner, rather than aggressive and repetitive. It’s even better if electronic instruments are used in tandem with guitars, drums, bass, and piano to create a seamless meld of jazz and trip-hop. The Album Leaf is a prime example of the kind of ethereal, otherworldly sound I enjoy, and their new album Between Waves is one of my new favorite albums.

Rooted in trance, Between Waves keeps evolving as the album plays on; melodies build on melodies, harmonies and counter leads in the background establish dense themes that cycle in and out, all at a leisurely pace, never leaving you out of breath or disinterested. From nature documentary soundtrack to outer space music video to ocean floor, The Album Leaf (Jimmy LaValle – Rhodes piano, guitar, synths, and vocals; Matthew Resovich – violin, synths, glockenspiel, and vocals; David LeBleu – drums, synths, keyboards, miscellaneous; Brad Lee – bass, guitar, keyboards, trumpet, miscellaneous) keep you bewitched and smiling on tracks like “New Soul” and “Back to the Start”. However, like most albums I write about, this is better listened to straight through.

I’ve found my tastes changing quite a bit recently, with a definite trend toward relaxing music (I used to be devoted to death metal and anything heavy), and I’m so glad I stumbled onto this. If you’re a fan of ambient music in the vein of Brian Eno you will not want to miss this. I particularly enjoy the way the various motifs weave all over each other and create an entirely new melody than what your brain thought was going to happen.

As you get into the meat of the album, it gets much more space-rock, while remaining lush and earthy. It may sound cheesy but this album feels like it centered me, like it brought my racing thoughts to a standstill. It’s a great album for a rainy day, an art session, helping with sleep, or anything not involving too much concentration. It will distract you. Very Bluetech meets Little People. Expansive soundscapes constructed out of simple and complimentary pieces. The song “Wandering Still” is one of the most gloriously uplifting pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It sounds like it’s my new fix-my-bad-mood song.

This is one of those albums where every song makes you go “How do they even write that?” It’s not that it’s that complex, it’s just that good. I’ve been looking for music exactly like this for quite a while. This kind of music provides physical relief; I can actually feel the stress leaving my shoulders as I listen. Song titles like “Lost in the Fog” add to the misty, rainy vibe of the record, and it’s just extremely pleasant.

I hope you enjoy Between Waves as much as I did. I’ve found my new go-to stress-reducing sleep album. Happy listening folks.

Rating: 9 out of 10