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Lizzie Powell has always been a risk-taker. As the creative force behind the influential Canadian outfit Land of Talk, the Montreal-based songwriter has over the past 15 years amassed a catalog of four unimpeachable albums that stretch the boundaries of indie rock. But Performances, their fifth LP, feels like a total reinvention: an unflinching statement from an artist who’s not afraid to say how they feel. Though it trades muscular guitar rock for understated piano, it’s still the most urgent, cathartic, and personal release of Powell’s career so far. “It's the weirdest, mightiest little record I've made since I used to write music on my four-track when I was 14,” says Powell. “I needed to make a love letter to my teenage self by being more vulnerable and doing all the production myself.” Here, they doggedly value their own intuition over anything else to make their most rewarding album yet.
Performances is a defiant and resonant blow against expectations and outside pressure. It’s an LP showcasing an artist without constraints and allowing themself to be radically honest. “The album title is very literal,” says Powell. “I'm performing what's in my brain but I'm tired of performing femininity for the music industry, femininity in my life, respectability, and vulnerability. I'm trying to grow out of these and break out of these roles in my life.” Powell’s fearlessness as a songwriter has already led to Land of Talk boasting an unmistakably essential discography but with this album, they find the perfect opportunity to give themself the grace to truly double down on their own vital sensibilities. They usher the songs every step of the way from demoing to producing, imbuing each track with immense care and unfiltered feeling.
“This is me reclaiming Land of Talk as it always has been,” says Powell. “Every record we've made has just been one step closer to me figuring out how I want to make a record myself. I might not ever make an album like this again, but I just felt like I owed it to myself to try.”
1. Intro (high bright high)
2. Your Beautiful Self
3. Fluorescent Blood
4. Marry It
5. Rainbow Protection
6. Clarinet dance jam
9. August 13