The Album Leaf and Dirty on Purpose sure are dreamy. - Oh My Rockness

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The Album Leaf and Dirty on Purpose sure are dreamy.

November 8, 2006
If you like pleasantly melancholy melodies, then this is the show for you. It's West Coast vs. the Best Coast. Whose pop will prevail?

Headlining is San Diego's The Album Leaf play, who play melancholy maybe better than anyone since, well, Jimmy LaVelle's previous band, Tristeza. Mostly instrumental, heavy on the melody, and light on tiresome ambient-friendly beep-clicks, The Album Leaf's music evokes forgotten dreams, regret, love lost and fading memories, yet still somehow manages to be uplifting.

LaVelle's graceful songs soar without manipulation by balancing melody and complexity. Guitars and keys duel it out to see who can produce the more beautiful note, a battle that is typically too close to call.

Seeing them live is like listening to their albums. You're not sure if you're happy or you're sad, but it feels really good. The sound The Album Leaf creates is truly unique and without equal. OK, except for maybe Tristeza.

Opening is the Brooklyn five-some Dirty on Purpose, who have been compared to Belle and Sebastian, The Cure and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Not bad company. These comparisons likely arise from Dirty on Purpose's attraction to the mellow and moody. Vocalist Doug Marvin croons theatrical songs of heartache over fuzzy, guitar-heavy instrumentation (think shoegazing with keyboards).

That is not to say their songs are a buzzkill by any means. The melodies are too quirky and the music too rich to be depressing. Rather they provoke a melancholic mood at their slowest and a subtle elation at their most atmospheric. Dirty on Purpose are one of the few Brooklyn bands that won't be compared to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars and that whole art-rock-post-punk thing. These guys are something else.

The Album Leaf and Dirty on Purpose play Lakeshore Theater, on Sunday, November 12th.


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