There’s a certain kind of rock song that seems to envelop you in its own little bubble. For three minutes or so, everything outside slows to a crawl while goosebumps cover your arms and your heart swells like a trapped balloon. Life After Youth, the third album from Montreal’s Land of Talk, features two such songs back-to-back.
The first, This Time, begins abruptly with its not-so-secret weapon of a bassline already carving a mean strut while shoegazey guitars sigh hazy riffs in its wake. Elizabeth Powell joins, singing the kind of ambiguous yet straightforwardly affecting sentiments that make for all the best anthems. 'I don’t want to waste it, my life,' she confesses, her voice echoing with an appropriately cinematic lustre.
On following track Loving, Powell offers a bleak forecast of life going forward. 'It’s gonna get worse,' she declares, but as with the previous song the mood is rousing and cathartic. Like Springsteen before her – and more recently, Angel Olsen – Powell knows nothing quite parts the clouds of existential woe like a vigorously strummed guitar chord.
These two tracks crest an emotional peak that isn’t quite matched elsewhere. Spiritual Intimidation’s bummed-out bliss is diluted by a phoned-in B section of indistinct guitar twiddling and filler vocals while the initially beguiling Inner Lover gets a touch too dreary to hold interest. That being said, a little torpor is forgivable and perhaps even to be expected on a record that dwells so unflinchingly before the abyss of adulthood.
Listen to: This Time, Loving
Buy Land Of Talk - Life After Youth on LP/CD from Norman Records