Leif Vollebekk is a Canadian singer-songwriter, based in Montreal. Twin Solitude is his latest release and it sees him in fine form with a collection of songs that are at once intimate but also evocative of endless plains and the open country.
‘Vancouver Time’ openings proceedings. It is a mellow, yet bruised, offering. Musically, it is deceptively simple; piano and drums are to the fore but every so often a harmonica punctuates just at the right time. Vollebekk uses the narrative lyric to great effect and his delivery is confident and assured as he sings about the normality of relationships, “Sometimes we run beside each other, sometimes babe it’s like there is no other, sometimes we make horrible lovers”. ‘All Night Sedans’ has a smooth vocal and there is the easy push of bass and drum to move the song along. Again we are back in affairs of the heart where ‘half a favour is no favour at all’ and Vollebekk tells a lover, now gone, that he “wishes it could have been another way”.
‘Elegy’ has a similar sparseness but midway through strings help the song to sore as religious themes are explored, “In the stained glass window I feel the presence hold but that don’t mean I’m done with repentance oh no”. Vollebekk certainly has a way with a couplet and his soulful voice holds it all together.
‘Into the ether’ has a jazzy vibe which opens out in epic territory. The shuffling hi-hats give the song movement over which a beautiful melody plays. Vollebekk’s voice excels and his delivery has a depth that is, while uniquely his own, at times like the late Jeff Buckley. ‘Big Sky Country’ keeps the album rolling along and it must be said that the production values lends itself to band so well. ‘Michigan’ is all acoustic guitar and makes you want to jump into a car and go get lost in America. ‘Road to Venus’ is all love and lap-steel guitar with a gun-shot snare drum running through. This is country at its finest.
‘East of Eden’ deals with card games and the human condition built around a repetitive riff that is full of reverb and longing. ‘Telluride’ asks the listener to “run away if you haven’t left” and it gives way to the eight minute plus end song ‘Rest’ which is drenched in organ and the strains of mandolin. It sings of the sea stating that ‘a rest is as good as a sleep’. For an album made in an apartment it is full of space but also longing. Vollebekk is an artist that understands the importance of the weaving of word and tune; Twin Solitude is a work that proves that both still matter.