After a tour spent opening for Sigur Rós, Tristeza alumnus and Album Leaf alter ego Jimmy Lavalle found himself with an invitation to make In a Safe Place at the band's Icelandic studio. The venue was a perfect match for Lavalle, because his instrumental assortment of slow keyboards and electronic drumbeats has always sounded like what you'd get if you asked a computer to spit out an approximation of Sigur Rós' ethereal opuses sans the made-up language and Thom Yorkeian vocals (though SR singer Jon Birgisson does make an appearance here on "Over the Pond," the song cycle's most stunning track). While pretty, some of the numbers with lots of beats end up sounding somewhat generic. Safe Place's best moments are when Lavalle and company (comprising the SR boys and Black Heart Procession's Pall Jenkins) indulge in being even more sparse than usual. It's when the drums are dropped and the rhythms are lilted that the emotion really comes out.
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