On her new album Cloak and Cipher, Land of Talk's Elizabeth Powell revives the Golden Age of '90s alt-rock perfectly, fusing the earthy vibe of Lilith Fair pop with the crunchy, lo-fi guitar sound of Belly or the Breeders. It's a shame that MTV's Buzz Bin isn't on air -- Land of Talk would've totally been in heavy rotation.
On the disc's standout title track, Land of Talk fuses punky garage-rock guitar riffs, a plonky bass groove and ramshackle beats with Powell's charming, willowy voice. But the chorus is particularly killer: Her angelic, multi-tracked vocals flutter about like a children's choir over jazzy piano chords and a tricked-out shuffling beat. For her part, Powell seems more focused on music and tone rather than words -- her cryptic vocal delivery, masked by a fuzz effect, seems to concern candle-making and "blues choirs" -- but the tonal qualities of her voice help make "Cloak and Cipher" utterly intoxicating.
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