Venue: London Bush Hall Support Bands: The Go Find Date: 22/03/10 Let’s face it, Post-rock is a genre that breeds little diversity. Following the recent prominence of countless indistinguishable ambient bands, it is surprising that the world should need (or want) any more Post Rock bands – regardless of any sub genre they may invent. It is just as well then that San Diego native Jimmy Lavelle, through his alter-ego The Album Leaf, should use post-rock merely as a platform to create his trademark ambient indie-rock. Indeed, it is Lavelle’s ability to create a lush amalgamation of haunting, ambient soundscapes, suger-sweet melodies and glitchy electronic beats that fashion such eclecticism. It is this unmistakably unique sound and fusing of genres that has helped contribute to Lavelle’s comparative success and longevity within such a saturated genre, not to mention him long-selling out boutique London venue, Bush Hall. Bush Hall is a venue perfectly suited to the Album Leaf. Not only does its high ornate ceilings and opulent Victorian decadence lend itself perfectly to the delicate, ambient music, it also provides a perfect visual enhancement - because lets face it, Post-Rock doesn’t usually provide much visual stimulation. Not even the mostly dull Go Find were able to dispel the animated atmosphere present in the grand hall. Throughout the set, I found my attention being drawn not to the support band’s repetitive, derivative power-pop, but rather to the extravagant chandeliers and ornate Greek style mouldings - regardless of their endearing Belgian accents. thealbumleaf_3 Photography - Sebastien Dehesdin As impressive as the ‘Do it Yourself’ ethos may be, the limitations of an One Man Band becomes apparent during live performances; it is lucky then that Lavelle decided to bring along a troupe of musicians - equally proficient in musicianship and beard growth. As cliché as it may be to say, the Album Leaf live experience really does excel the recordings; with 4 band members, a backing track and string quartet, Lavelle was certainly able to create the epic, crescendos that earns him the Post Rock category. The main highlight of Lavelle’s performance was the string sections, providing a rich and refreshingly varied texture. Similar effort was spent in creating a similarly impressive visual spectacle through atmospheric lighting and vivd projector images; albeit partly lost against the Hall's lavish backdrop. The true brilliance of the Album Leaf’s sound however comes from the contrast between the rich, grandiose instrumental sections and delicate melodious vocal sections - after all, Lavelle is one of the few artists who has successfully overcome one the biggest faux pas’ of indie music – singing over post-rock. Their live performance proved that the Album Leaf deserves more than the restrictive classification of ‘Post Rock’. Instead, it is Lavelle’s creation of a dreamy, haunting soundscape that is truly memorable - amplified perhaps by the gig’s intimate setting (I was just an hand’s length away from the off-switch of Lavelle’s keyboard). Post Rock is a genre drowned in indistinguishable bands; the Album Leaf once again proved successfully that they have more to offer.