Saddle Creek is the notorious home of what I like to call the "quiet superstars," bands like Cursive and Tokyo Police Club that are so excellent at what they do, they should be famous (most are not exactly household names). That is why I'm not surprised to see the continually brilliant Land of Talk on the SC roster, following up their impressive debut with a terrific footnote of extra material. Fans of Some Are Lakes, and their earlier EPs will immediately recognize the handiwork of Elizabeth Powell, the fundamental harmonies, the strong voice, and the guitar work.
The Fun And Laughter EP is a continuation in a long line of growth via small releases (and that one big one), but this small collection feels different for several reasons. The songs are more matured; following the full length debut there is a new cohesion in the body of work, a binding element some might refer to as a "fully realized sound" (but that is a boring way of saying it). Fans have plenty to be excited about here: the small, four song EP carries its own weight in songs, and even includes videos for three Some Are Lakes tracks.
Land Of Talk is Elizabeth Powell's band, not the other way around. Sure, LoT has had a bunch of different people playing things in it's formation, finally settling on the current trio, but Powell has always been the centerpiece; her voice carrying through the sound of the band. And Powell is what makes the jazzy pop unique from others imitation. Fun And Laughter continues to flaunt her strengths; jumpy, layered folk with an emphasis on building it up and stripping it down. Now I'm hoping that this is less of an epilogue and more of a bridge between two places&8212 Lakes and beyond. -joe puglisi