Label: Sub Pop Release date: Out Now! Website: With his fifth album in just over ten years, Jimmy LaValle proves with The Album Leaf that ‘more of the same’ is by no means a bad thing. If you have heard one of the project’s previous albums you should know, more or less, what to expect already: gorgeously sleepy melodic ambience that some will still determinedly call ‘post-rock’. This time around, however, LaValle has enlisted a solid full band lineup, rather than just roping in occasional contributors. The more standard rock song structures and sounds that have increasingly crept in to the band’s work to are understandably relied on more heavily here, with the album swelling to a full band after only two instrumental pieces. The rhythm section on ‘There Is A Wind’ rattles above the typical Album Leaf-style syrupy synth beeps whilst soft vocals weave in and out, setting a tone for the majority of the album, sounding more like The American Analog Set than the heavily Sigur Rós influenced sound of 2004’s In A Safe Place. The airy strings, light percussion and restrained horns even call to mind the UK’s own Tim & Sam’s Tim & The Sam Band With Tim And Sam. Fortunately, vocal contributions don’t crop up too much, and percussion is generally subtle enough to make sure A Chorus Of Storytellers remains in the typical Album Leaf vein of pretty dream accompaniment. Or is it fortunate? Although the full band means certain elements are ever so slightly more high profile than ever before, it’s still not a massive change from previous albums. It would certainly be interesting to see The Album Leaf progress further, perhaps morphing in to some kind of LaValle-fronted pop band, as tracks like the vaguely White Lies-leaning ‘We Are’ begins to hint at, but for now this is more than enough. Nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary, but very few flaws if you’re just after a pleasant and beautiful record, made for sleep playlists or sunny days. Photobucket