Before I say anything at all, all of the Album Leaf albums are puzzling pieces of intricate, mysterious, introspective and even mellow moments. Pristine music interpretation in nature, this solo project by Jimmy LaValle is probably the epitome of the quintessential indie artist concept. But never mind the concept, In a Safe Place goes beyond the simple realization of a concept and it becomes more like a collection of living images and memories.
The similarity and obvious comparison to Sigur Rós is not a coincidence, as members of the latter are credited as collaborators for some of the tracks found here. And while there might be a fair share of similarities, The Album Leaf has its very own arguments and the trademark sound and approach to their art is simply unmistakable.
It won’t take you a while to notice that In a Safe Place features a well-defined structure and as a result, things tend to land not very far from the tone that is laid from the very beginning. However all of those details pale in comparison when you discover the single most important feature that this album has to offer: intimacy. At first I wasn’t able to pinpoint what was exactly that warm sentiment that seems to invade whenever I left myself go with this album, but one day I realized that it was due to the simple fact that In a Safe Place let us witness a personal and intimate interpretation of tunes as if we would be there in the same room with the band, but not as in a private concert fashion, more like a private gathering just for the sake of enjoying the music they love to play for themselves.
And once we established that, we need to check our higher expectations at the door for a glamorous indie experience with The Album Leaf. Let me explain that, because for a moment it might sound like I’m warning to expect a sub-par performance when in reality the performance is top-notch. I’m rather talking about the expectations for things to take off to surreal heights, when in reality In a Safe Place and even beyond that, The Album Leaf in general is a very down to earth concept and very aware of what their music is trying to achieve, and as a direct result we get a very honest performance, without attempts at something that simply isn’t there.
A strange reminiscence of a calm and peaceful place you might know, and yet puzzled by the unexpected, intense (and let’s not forget intimate) experience that awaits within In a Safe Place, this is an album that should be enjoyed not just by those indie music enthusiasts, but also for those outsiders to the genre, it is not an exaggeration when I say that this album has a lot to offer even if indie music is not your cup of tea.