Reviews Music Leif Vollebekk — Inland

Leif Vollebekk — Inland

Leif Vollebekk - Inland
Leif VollebekkInland
Nevado Records; 2010
10 Tracks; CD, LP, Digital Download

 

Review by: Whitney Pineault

Perhaps one of the most talented songwriters to emerge from Montreal's lavish musical landscape, Leif Vollebekk was born to make music.

His debut album, Inland, originally released independently in 2008, is a stunning collection of dreamy folk songs that grip your every sense from start to finish. Now having joined forces with Toronto independent label, Nevado Records (Bahamas, Yukon Blonde) Vollebekk has finally been able to properly introduce himself as a serious musician with a clever knack for pairing honest lyrics with gorgeous melodies. The result is deadly, but in a really, really great way.

Though the album gets off to a shaky start surrounding the layered vocals in “In The Morning”, it is one of the few occurrences of weakness throughout Inland. But that's not to say the entire song is a lost cause. Its halfway mark gives way to a glorious fusion of piano, guitar, banjo, and strings. Vollebekk's lyrics come full circle and acquaint listeners to his poetically vivid writing approach. "You Couldn't Lie To Me In Paris", while under two minutes in length, is one of the album's most charming tracks. It has an intriguing short story quality to it — very descriptive yet minimal, encouraging your imagination to fashion accompanying images and scenarios. Atop an acoustic guitar, his endearing vocals shine through, switching between English and French fluencies. The same can be said for the serene “Michael Robartes & The Dancer” where Vollebekk really demonstrates his strong sense of story telling. There is something so calming and almost therapeutic about his voice that makes it so easy to get lost in.

A tale of heartbreak and unrequited love is told with “Quebec” where Vollebekk states, “when a woman moves on, it's best she just move away.” The song features some really clever lyrics along with a couple of short, yet terribly passionate, harmonica solos giving it a vintage bluesy feel. “Northernmost Eva Maria” is Inland's only instance of lyrics taking a backseat to musical arrangement. Here, Vollebekk has a full band of support behind him resulting in a composition swimming with beauty and grace. Quickly switching up the vibe with the piano ballad, “Don't Go To Klaksvik”, Vollebekk treats us to a little more harmonica playing, this time more lengthy but just as emotional. Inland succeeds on all levels necessary for a great debut album. It is captivating, unique, and only gets better with each listen.