‘Forward/Return’ is the self-released EP by The Album Leaf. It is somewhat of a departure of their previous albums, leaving their roots of ambience and electronica and more into the area of ‘post-rock’ music. The layers of ambience that are so associated with The Album Leaf are still present, sure enough, it’s just amongst many layers now. It’s an interesting move for the band, and it is perhaps best suited for an EP release, rather than a full-length album, as it allows the band to gauge a reaction out of it’s fan-base before moving onto a full-length album in this area of music.
The album is still quintessentially The Album Leaf. The music can still feel familiar to a style we associate with them, but at the same time it seems to be different at the same time. There is elements of instrumental or ‘post-rock’ in the album, which give the album a sort of weighty feel to them. It is a welcome change, as it gives me the sense that the band doesn’t want to become stale with the music it produces. What makes the album most interesting is how The Album Leaf use post-rock elements to make music that is still relaxing and ambient in places.
The album is comprised of seven tracks, all of which are instrumental with the exception of ‘Under The Night’. There is a use of drum machines and loops which help to not drive, but push the music forward. Some songs feature ambient drones that are accompanied by drums, guitars or both. It all helps to make a very interesting EP. It can relax you, but it can also keep you alert at the same time. It is as though it is resting in between being relaxing and chaotic. At times it pumps up a bit more, but it still manages to retain it’s ambience. For this reason it is an interesting album, and it makes me wonder what The Album Leaf are going to do next.
Overall, ‘Forward/Return’ is a surprisingly nice EP. It is well written, and contains some of The Album Leaf’s best tracks in a long while. The music works very well as an EP, as it is at a perfect length, not being too long and daunting, but also not being too short and disappointing. It is just right in terms of it’s instrumentation, track-listing and length. It is one of the better EPs out there, and it holds itself up to the level of brilliance from The Album Leaf’s full length albums. It is well worth purchasing or even just hearing if you’re a fan of post-rock music, or ambient music. Or perhaps even both!
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Low Down
- Under The Night
- Dark Becomes Light