When Album Leaf leader Jimmy LaValle began recording his beautifully minimal album In a Safe Place in 2004, he received the biggest post-rock stamp of approval short of an Eno production credit: Three-fourths of Icelandic superpower Sigur Rós contributed to the lush, electric piano-based reveries. But it speaks to the strength of LaValle's vision that the disc retained its own amber-cured texture, where sustained piano notes, glitchy drum machines and keening violin phrases shared the same infinite landscape. This year's A Chorus of Storytellers, the third full-length Album Leaf release on Sub Pop, uses the same airy template of earlier recordings but fills in more of the white space. LaValle is less reticent to push the beat forward this time around, and often the music positively swells with sympathetic strings and horns.
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