Elizabeth Powell gets back to what she's meant to do on Land of Talk's first album in seven years.Saddle Creek, 2017
7.3 / 10
Land of Talk has not been talking for quite some time. Largely the project of musician Elizabeth Powell, she took a hiatus after 2010’s Cloak and Cipher. While the hiatus initially began as a break, a series of misfortunate events would change it for the worse. Powell even considered retirement. These feelings were due to tour fatigue and losing demos on a damaged laptop. However, the hiatus is now over, and Powell sounds fresh from a lengthy nap on Life After Youth. It’s a fitting title for a band starting back up after a near-decade absence. A lot is different yet Life After Youth’s songs are sharp, poignant reminders of why Land of Talk was so talked about years ago.
For Life After Youth, Powell reteams with original Land of Talk drummer Bucky Wheaton. Powell’s made it clear that the reunion was particularly important in realizing many of the album’s songs. Her old pal Sharon Van Etten also helps with a few songs, “This Time”, “Heartcore”, and “Loving”. Then, you also have The Besnard Lakes and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth lending a hand as well. Obviously, many of Powell’s friends are happy to help her get back to what she’s meant to do.
And she does it very well on Life After Youth. Despite the seven-year gap and past struggles with her voice, Powell sounds great on these songs. She pushes the songs forward with greater clarity than ever. Her lyrics shine through with messages that old fans and new can find common ground with. Musically, Life After Youth‘s guitar-driven songs deliver moods that feel melancholy but also hopeful for a happy outcome. Whether that means finding love or rediscovering something that has been missing from your life. We’re lucky to have Land of Talk back in our lives.