Leif Vollebekk - Twin Solitude (Secret City Records)

Montreal singer-songwriter returns with wintry set of songs on excellent third LP

Released Feb 24th, 2017 via Secret City / By Jethro West
Leif Vollebekk - Twin Solitude (Secret City Records) Are you content isolated in the embrace of a lover? Do you ever feel incredibly alone despite having someone to cherish and care for? Leif Vollebekk seemingly ventures into the musings of these questions with his aptly titled third album, Twin Solitude.

Late-fall of 2016 brought us the critically acclaimed single, Elegy and Leif has since released a further two stunning singles, All Night Sedans and Into the Ether, paving the way for a record that exposes the deepest of feelings and vulnerabilities. To that effect, Leif has masterfully composed and produced Twin Solitude; steeped in stripped-back percussion, gorgeous piano and synthesizer that melts away behind his unique and mesmerising vocal style.

Opening track, Vancouver Time is like a memory box spilled out across the town of Vancouver. It’s “the town that I finally let you down”, and Leif expresses “sometimes babe it’s like there is no other/ sometimes we make horrible lovers/sometimes we’re just mean”, perhaps manifesting the inspiration behind his album title. He flawlessly spills over into All Night Sedans, a bluesier number and it feels like a late night lamenting lost love in the aftermath of Vancouver Time.

Elegy and Into the Ether provide a new dimension to Leif’s songwriting, they are two tracks that demonstrate Leif’s changed approach to songwriting: exploring ideas that came spontaneously to him, and letting the songs shape themselves. Here, Leif is absolutely at the pinnacle of his lyrical ability once again exploring the themes of love and loneliness. “Sometimes you question life itself and sometimes you just go home with yourself and take it out on the mirror/you don’t see yourself no clearer, do ya’?” and “I want you, I just want you to be in a trance too” from ‘Into the Ether’ seem to precisely express feelings of the perpetual limbo of being in love.

A number of the remaining songs on the album smoothly recall the countless hours Leif has spent on the road, meandering through the great expanse of North America: Big Sky Country, Road to Venus and Michigan. The latter manifests itself in a classic feel good song - explicitly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On - the dreamy consciousness of someone at the back of the car innocently thinking: ‘no sweet direction, we just sit along. You and me, Robert - we ramble on…”.

Leif has created something complete and wholesome in Twin Solitude. It’s devastating in part but it’s also very real and for that it’s so easy to relate to. It simply makes those warmer songs even more so and is therefore an ideal album to listen to as winter draws to a close.