Leif Vollebekk – New Ways

Leif Vollebekk's latest album New Ways is perfectly packaged and well-delivered, but fails to see Vollebekk break out of his easy-listening niche

Album Review by Amy Hill | 12 Nov 2019
  • Leif Vollebekk – New Ways
Album title: New Ways
Artist: Leif Vollebekk
Label: Secret City Records
Release date: 1 Nov

Two years after releasing his Polaris Music Prize shortlisted album Twin Solitude, Leif Vollebekk has a new record on the shelves. Pitched as “the sound of desire unfolding”, Vollebekk sees New Ways as a documentation of change, rather than one of self-reflection.

From the first track, The Way That You Feel, the scene is set – it’s smooth, contemplative, earnest. From there, the album flows exactly as you’d expect, with moments of welcome acceleration and moments of calm. Vollebekk includes unusually catchy licks (Never Be Back) and tracks such as Blood Brother see punchy drum lines injecting momentum into the heart of the record.

You can’t really argue with Vollebekk’s voice as it slides from track to track. At times slipping fully into easy listening, you can listen to the whole album and sort-of forget anything that he said. It’s a shame, because Vollebekk’s lyrics have definitely matured on New Ways – the music is just so tranquil that you forget to pick up on them.

A lot of it feels like music you’ve heard before it in some sort of romantic feel-good film, during the time lapse where she’s gone and he doesn’t know if she’s coming back, and he’s walking through the park as the leaves turn from green to orange. It’s atmospheric and inoffensive, but ultimately it's really not going to change the face of music.

Despite its title, New Ways doesn’t break boundaries or really see Vollebekk break out of his typecast. But it is nonetheless a nice, warm album – the kind of album you want to have on in the kitchen when you’re whipping up a batch of soup. It does what is says on the tin, and we can’t really argue with that.

Listen to: Never Be Back, Blood Brother