Thursday, August 28, 2008

Reviews:: Sing Leaf Wandering EP

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When it comes to experimental electro-folk, it's hard to stand out without going too far and alienating all but the most dedicated listeners. Swirling textures, staccato blips and creaking voices often suppress melody and unnecessary intricacies often take the place of brevity, leaving every idea overexposed and run into the ground.

People often assume throwing together some slow moving, ethereal beats is relatively easy, but in reality,most people fail to deliver music of substance. For Toronto's Sing Leaf - led by song writer David Como - their aptly named EP is a brief look into how successful the genre can be.

The band uses interesting textures, playfulness and airy melodies to counterbalance the electronic density of the songs. North uses a droning back beat, scrambled audio transmission, and an electric current to drive the song, but it's the flute that helps transform an electro track into an organic experience. The track only lasts 2-minutes, but it showcases what this band is all about.

For me though, the EP comes to life on the first vocal track, Yavanna. Much like another favorite of mine (Canon Blue), Sing Leaf loops electronics with instruments to create beautiful soundscapes but add strong vocals to help the songs stand out. All too often, electro-folk arrangements add layer after layer, working dutifully on the recipe, but then toss in vocals almost as an afterthought. As the textures float around your head, the banjo and claps warm the affair and blips and beeps dart back and forth between your headphones, it's David's voice that stabilizes the whole affair.

Never One For Goodbyes is another swirling track, heavy with sound blips and a well executed build that expands so slowly you barely notice the weight it accrues. The track retracts and grows, almost like the beat of your heart, until it finally surges forward with adrenaline. The all to brief EP closes with the poppy, 2-minute gem, Golden Yellow Oak. The gentle acoustic brings the song to life and David's reflective vocals fit nicely into the vastness of the track. All of the sounds seem to echo and extend forever, and the beautiful harmonies that end the track are the perfect ending to the song and this surprisingly diverse EP.

Posted at 8:49 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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