Land of Talk’s newest offering, Cloak & Cipher, is much more contemplative and softspoken than their previous records. And this seems to be the purpose of the album: a sonic breath and a moment of rest. Hopefully, this rest is a palate cleanser, a space between, and not a permanent downshift. Because apart from “The Hate I Won’t Commit” and “Hamburg at Noon,” which have more punch, and the title/intro track, which functions as a well-wrought transition from the last album, Cloak & Cipher is on the wrong side of languid. It drifts into the realm of listlessness; the songs mush together rather than cohere. While I don’t need hooks, I do need memorable. I want songs stuck in my heart.
The disc itself arrived to Discorder with a release that, among other poetics, noted that “songs fade out, fall apart, linger unresolved.” This is certainly evident, and so perhaps my reaction is a matter taste rather than an indicator of how successful this effort is. And indeed, when listened to in rotation with their other works, is a nice change of mood. But as much as Cloak & Cipher is an enjoyable experience, and one that is obviously personal to the artist, I missed the sonic and lyrical (and distinctly feminine) clarity, wit and disposition they have delivered in the past.