[Album Review] Language Arts- Able Island
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Release Date: October 9th, 2015
Label: Maple Music

At first blush you’ll be tempted to dismiss ‘Able Island’ as a collection of solid but unexceptional indie pop songs. But then a few nuance catch your ear. The echo on the beat in “Luckiness”, the fading in and out of the instrumentation on “Through”. You give the album a few more listens. More and more of those clever touches reach your ear and take hold. There is indeed an attention to detail here that is rewarding for the discerning listener.

In this regard (and by any standard) “Now to Nowhere” is the record’s standout track. It starts out with a surprisingly heavy combination of rock percussion and deep synth. After a bit of mathy guitar the song settles into a more gentle mode, but the intriguing progressions continue. Lyrically, Kristen Cudmore explores the notion of belonging and the very question of what ‘home’ is.

This track is the album’s strength, its backbone, but it also unfortunately serves as a measuring stick – one that the balance of the songs fail to live up to. Not that there aren’t other bright spots, such as “A Coastline Bungalow” with its dream-like psychedelic centrepiece, and “Tonight, At The Campsite” with its wistful tremolo guitar. But, more than often, we are teased with glimpses of greatness rather than the full attainment of it.