It’s difficult to know what to say about Leif Vollebekk, other than that, in general, he sounds like Paolo Nutini having his belly tickled. Granted, I have never tickled Paolo Nutini’s belly, so I can’t be absolutely certain, but I’d be willing to hedge my bets and say that, if I did tickle his belly, I’m fairly sure that these are the kind of noises he would make. Definitely.
While Nutini, of course, hails from the Scottish lowlands, Vollebekk is a Canadian whose adopted home is Montreal, which makes their similarity seem somewhat surprising. Not that Nutini is his only noticeable point of reference. Occasionally there are traces of Jamie Cullum in there too, but the truth is that this album is so laid back that it’s fair to say Paisley’s most commercial export is by far the most obvious comparison. Who else? James Morrison? A little. Jeff Buckley? Occasionally. The soothing melodies herein sometimes hide a darker bent, however. Take, for instance, ‘Into The Ether‘, where, camouflaged amongst the tranquillity, you will find druggy references like “I saw you in the club getting all fucked up, and the cocaine, well, it was all sucked up. You felt the power of something. You felt the power of something…but not for long.”
And all this is well and good, especially if you’re climbing into freshly laid bed linen after a heavy night on the town, but any other time? Well, let me put it this way – have you ever seen Gus Van Sant’s film ‘My Own Private Idaho‘? Yes, well it’s like that. I’ve put this album on several times over to review it now, but it’s so damn laid back that, quite frankly, I’m buggered if I can stay awake for its entire duration. If Vollebekk had a snooze-off with JJ Cale‘s Troubadour, the current world champion of ‘un-wind’ albums, I suspect we’d finally have a new victor.
I suppose I really ought to tell you about some of the other tracks too, oughtn’t I? Well, ‘East Of Eden‘ is an expansive sounding number that feels like a wide open American freeway at night, ‘Michigan‘ is a real lo-fi highlight, and ‘Big Sky Country‘ sounds like…well, it sounds like…Paolo Nutini having his belly tickled…
I wish I could tell you more, I really do. These songs are always pleasant, there is little doubt of that, but the problem is, every time you get half way through one, Vollebekk comes into your room, tucks you up snugly and reads you a bedtime story. The bastard.
Twin Solitude is released on 24th February through Secret City Records.
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