Readers (if you do exist, that is), meet my new anthem: “Quarry Lakes,” a gem off of Land of Talk’s second full-length album, Cloak and Cipher, whose name to me has a very strange, mystery-laden, Agatha-Christie-meets-Harry-Potter kind of vibe to it, and which just came out on Tuesday. Oh, how this song burns like cold, cruel fire in the deepest recesses of my troubled heart. You may have already read my post on LOT’s previous record, 2008’s Justin Vernon-produced Some Are Lakes, which featured the title track and pokes fun at our neighbors to the north. What I didn’t mention was that front woman and erstwhile member of Toronto-based supergroup Broken Social Scene Liz Powell had to take some time off when she developed hemorrhaging vocal chord polyps, and it was during that recovery period that she wrote most of what would later become Cloak and Cipher. In an article in Canada’s National Post, which had been streaming the brand new work before its release, Powell says of “Quarry Lakes”: “How things hit us is often incongruous with our surroundings—this song is a sad summer day and the happiest snowfall you’ve ever run through. This is a song for friends and lovers, a call to arms for falling and turning leaves.”
As summer winds down everywhere else across the country, here in San Francisco it’s just beginning. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t entitled to enjoy the autumnal themes that everyone else will be draping themselves in like scarves come Labor Day as the warmth suddenly drains from the air, daylight starts slouching, and the nights expand into oblivion with loneliness in hand. This is, at least, what all my friends will be feeling, the ones that left me here all by myself in San Francisco to move back east for various academic pursuits as I flounder and attempt to reestablish my identity as, well, a solitary individual. In Canada, of course, this descent into autumn began about a month ago. In fact, it might be snowing already. Fortunately, there is something to look forward to this fall: Land of Talk will play The Independent on Thursday, October 7, with fellow tourmates the Besnard Lakes.
Who: Land of Talk
What: Cloak and Cipher
Where: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Why: “How deep is this hole I feel I’m in?”
How: Saddle Creek