Land of Talk
Life After Youth
A vehicle for Canada’s Elizabeth Powell, Land of Talk offers numerous visceral pleasures on Life After Youth, her first album in seven years. This alluring work features typically elegant melodies, ringing guitars and, above all, her subtly remarkable voice, which balances angsty urgency and composed resolve, suggesting a barely contained calm at the center of an emotional storm. Despite her long hiatus, little has changed, apart from the presence of a few more keyboards—and that’s just fine. Joined by notable guests like Sharon Van Etten and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, Powell ponders isolation, heartbreak and mortality, but her songs never seem merely glum or self-indulgent, because the music is so engaging. Unease rarely feels this agreeable.