Land Of Talk
It's not uncommon for a band to lose a couple founding members on its way to or shortly after the debut album. Canada's Land Of Talk did exactly that. Vocalist/guitarist Elizabeth Powell started the band with bassist Chris McCarron and drummer Mark Wheaton.
Prior to Land Of Talk, Powell had tried to break through in a number of bands and as a solo but nothing seemed to connect for the Ontario native who had been writing music since her early-teens and was once enrolled in the Jazz program at Montreal's Concordia University. It was there that Land Of Talk formed.
The group released its debut EP "Applause Cheer Boo Hiss" on an indie label in '06. The single "Summer Special" earned some airplay. They also made a video for "Speak To Me Bones." Shot in black and white, it was directed by Concordia classmate Jeff St. Jules.
Wheaton quit before the recording '08's full-length "Some Are Lakes." Andrew Barr (of The Slip) played on the sessions. Eric Thibodeau was eventually installed on the drum stool.
With "Some Are Lakes" out Land Of Talk opened for Broken Social Scene. Then McCarron decided to leave (to work with another group) and the band considered going on hiatus. However, they added Joe Yarmush on bass and kept rolling.
In the U.S., bands are stuck in dank clubs and pretty much left to their own devices. It's a little different in Canada. Groups can apply for grants from agencies like the Canada Council Funding for the Arts. The monies Land Of Talk received probably didn't change they're lifestyle much, other than provide a needed break from pork and beans. But it may have provided the opportunity to look beyond the narrow confines of the last gig.
Land Of Talk are a post-Punk band with a smart twist. Riding over the slashing chords, a sharp beat and pulsating bass lines is Powell's agitated voice. That's standard stuff until they strip their songs down to allow Powell more room to emote - and fully express her dark imagery.
"Some Are Lakes" is a propulsive effort highlighted by the raucous "Corner Phone." The group slams into their songs with a charming, though limited, dose of pop sensibility. But even when they do, the 'sugar' is raw. The sad regret of "It's Okay" is telling, especially when it's clearly not OK.