More often than not, the thought of something spontaneous conjures up ideas of chaos, even through the enjoyable moments, there is a buzz that comes with that feeling of being unprepared. It’s that buzz that drove Leif Vollebekk, singer-songwriter from Montreal, to create upcoming album, Twin Solitude, with very little planning. Failing to break through a period of writer’s block that came after a tour following his 2013 release North Americana, Vollebekk booked a private show at a Montreal dive bar for one night only. Without any new material of his own, he set out to play other people’s songs, after rehearsing just once with the rhythm section that he had found for the night.
The fun that he had performing that night led him to the conclusion that spontaneity was the key to climbing out of his block. No thinking, just playing, and while he may have lived for the buzz of just doing it, the result shows no hint of chaos, just pure and simple beauty. Twin Solitude feels personal, playing as if Vollebekk is sat in the room with us, performing straight from his mind to the music. Lead single ‘Elegy’ captures this essence perfectly, its melody is so laid back that you’re unsure it’s even there. In some kind of ironic twist, the simplicity is what makes this track so rich. That being said, this track, like many others, are pleasant in the moment, but it doesn’t quite resonate once it’s all said and done.
The risk of making something on the spot is that it becomes too personal, perhaps a little under worked. There’s a sense of this album being very true to Vollebekk, which is wonderful, however, as a whole it fails to reach a point of direction. Each song on its own is enough to get you listening, however when played together, each one blends into the next and at times it can be hard to distinguish between the tracks. Though different instruments come into play, the overall pace remains the same which at first comes as a bit of a disappointment. Though the spontaneous nature of this album’s recording leaves hope for something that explores a wide range of melodies, when it all comes down to it, the very fact that Twin Solitude remains very much on the same track, is actually quite remarkable.
As the album draws to a close, the quaint tones of ‘Rest’ leave a lingering thought, finally something that does resonate with the listener. The sound of the waves and delicate harmonies spiral into a blissful haven, and it no longer matters that this album is so apparently under worked. This final track is like a pleasant surprise, painting pictures of nature entwined with Vollebekk’s soul, everything that comes through this album is true and heartfelt, and although at times we may wish for something more, the beauty of Twin Solitude really is in the simplicity after all.
Twin Solitude is out February 24th via Secret City Records.