Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You (Music CD)

Release Date: 15 August 2011
Artist: Unwound
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The title of the Tumwater, WA, trio Unwound's seventh studio album implies a subtle, personal, internal shift. A drift from summer into autumn, an undeterrable and, at base, unsettling change of self that's akin to a calm but determined change of seasons. Leaves Turn Inside You is the culmination of Unwound's three-year process of reinvention, and on first listen by anyone familiar with the band's trademark slash and burn abrasiveness, the transition seems anything but subtle. The path that led to the the band's first double album wasn't an abrupt and contrived stylistic leap, however. The members had aged a bit, taking the three years since recording 1998's Challenge for a Civilized Society to ponder their musical identities, an introspective windfall that led them to construct their MagRecOne (Magnetic Recording Academy) studio, and to the decision to self-produce an album for the first time in their ten-year history. At the end of two long years, the band had built and rebuilt MagRecOne, and labored under its own standards of quality control until the 14 songs that would make up Leaves Turn Inside You were finished. All the while, individual band members were occupied recording bands populated by kindred spirits who identified with the studio proprietors' methods and manifesto, and also working on side projects such as bass player Vern Rumsey's Long Hind Legs. The construction of a home studio afforded Unwound the one key resource that comes in such short supply and at great expense when recording in a professional studio: time. Probably the central reason for the lengthy wait between albums was the freedom recording at MagRecOne provided the band -- freedom to follow the entire cycle of an idea to its creative and logical end and, perhaps more importantly, freedom not to use the takes and/or ideas that didn't quite pan out the way they were intended. Conversely, however, there are the pitfalls of self-indulgence and obsession; it's just as easy to become overwhelmed by the myriad creative paths that may lead to a bloated, ridiculous album. Thankfully, the members of Unwound are savvy sonic economists, and almost never fail to trim the unnecessary fat. Perhaps another direct result of their recording circumstances, Unwound's members have explored their more melodic tendencies and incorporated them into their songwriting. Also, they show no apparent fear of unconventional instrumentation. The band eschews some of the more traditional rock equipment in favor of allowing harpsichord, slide guitar, and cello to sit alongside obscure bits like the Dynachord, Nordlead, and synthesizers that sound as though they were lifted from warped Prince LPs. That the members of Unwound are not necessarily seasoned engineers sometimes shines through, however. Even with longtime producer Steve Fisk in the studio to lend a hand, the production values (especially Sara Lund's usually cacophonous drumming) sometimes sound more like muffled firecrackers than raucous explosions.
Leaves Turn Inside You opens with 11 notes of pure drone (ostensibly guitar), each individually dropping into the mix within the song's first ten seconds, and then held for two minutes like some hypnotic high school hearing evaluation, before the initial strains of "We Invent You" finally fade up through the haze. The perfect opening track, "We Invent You" is an anthemic exposition, and also an invitation: "Nothing will be the same/Concentrate on this phrase/Beyond this world I live" and "Collect your belongings/I'm inventing you." A mellotron and dual guitars then proceed to prime the album in a diaphanous, sonic sheen. This tone permeates even the rockers on the record, in light of which Unwound hasn't entirely abandoned the punk bite of its not-so-distant past. Another of the album's highlights, the heavy, arresting "Scarlette," is a scathing letter to a lover who is ignorant of its importance to the narrator. The song exemplifies the edgier songs on the record, which
Release Date: 15 August 2011
Artist: Unwound

1. We Invent You
2. Look a Ghost
3. December
4. Treachery
5. Terminus
6. Demons Sing Love Songs
7. Off This Century
8. One Lick Less
9. Scarlette
10. October All Over
11. Summer Freeze
12. Radio Gra
13. Below the Salt
14. Who Cares

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Catalogue No: KRS369