Landfall is visceral, sexual and timely. It melds Alt rock, electronica and classical themes The title track features Carole Pope in a duet with Rufus Wainwright. The song speaks to our collective unrest in these uncertain times.
CASHBOX‘Landfall’ might very well be Carole Pope’s most transitional, challenging and esoteric work to date. On one hand it’s a post-modern alternative music album that’s as cutting edge as Skinny Puppy/ Nine Inch Nails in both the opening industrial track ‘Viral’, and the sexually charged, dark-horse ‘My Flame’, while on the other hand being as hip as Arcade Fire/ The Decemberists as seen through the lens of the alt-folk lament “Tell Me” and the plaintive violin concerto “Tourniquet”.
These polar opposite styles seem to meld well on a single album through the brilliance of the players. National Velvet/Images in Vogue guitarist Tim Welch leads the charge along with Randy Cooke (drums), Spoons/Honeymoon Suite keyboardist Rob Preuss, and multi-instrumentalist Sean Kelly (on loan as bassist from Helix). On top of this comes the crystal crunch production of Pope and Tim Welch and the mixing finesse of Grammy Award winner John Whynot.
Between stylistic extremes there’s something here for every predilection and kink, most likely in an attempt to keep Pope from getting too complacent in challenging herself; There’s a hooky, funk workout on “Did I Mention” where Prince meets Bootsy Collins and Pope provides controlled vocal gymnastics like you’ve never heard before.
As with the ‘Transcend’ album there’s also a helping of Euro-Dance/Electronica in the track “Shining Path” whose style and feel is the only one reminiscent of Rough Trade; the most overt reference to Pope’s rants of old comes on the back of “God = Love”, a powerful comment on the dichotomy between the tenet of God as a loving being/concept and the reality of that being/concept being an intruder of the psyche.
The title track, “Landfall”, provides the anchor (as it were) to this entire musical spoked wheel. It is a modern manifesto in madrigal form with beautiful orchestration and Pope’s subdued, dare I say, lilting vocal execution. Along for the journey, and adding colour commentary, is the inestimable Rufus Wainwright.
Make no mistake, Carole Pope will never change her spots, but the fur underneath will continue to grow wild and remain as barbed and sensually alluring as ever.