She has the wounded-doe eyes of Zooey Deschanel, a singing voice that recalls certain registers of Cat Power and the twin superpowers (perfectly unpolished "like, what I mean to, like, say"-ness and guitar artistry) of Juliana Hatfield. Who is this mythic lady wonderbeast? Elizabeth Powell, singer/guitarist in Montreal's Land of Talk, a band that stacks capricious indie rock on top of unsettling three-part rumbles. The rock propulsion is emitted in equal measure from what is both an instrumentation-focused rock trio and a showcase for Powell's school-of-life vocals.
The seven songs that make up Land of Talk's debut EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, are well-worn; the record has been released three times (by Dependent, then MapleMusic, then Rebel this spring), which constitutes a lot of attention for a peewee-sized record. The music is inclusively and solidly built, the work of a group that's confident and comfortable playing within specific parameters, beyond the ones inherent in their three-part setup. The songs differ very little, each one referring back to the driving undulations and punk-nerd complexity that informs their style. "Speak to Me Bones," their lead single from the EP, incorporates a little bit of atypical thunder, but generally speaking, the record washes through you like a Faulkner novel.
The record-release dramas and recent lineup changes aside, Land of Talk seems poised to break and topple into an arena where gimmick-less proficiency is suddenly a hot commodity. If this is the band to kick open the door for a mid-'90s-style indie-rock revival, all the better.
Land of Talk perform with the Rosebuds, Phoenix and the Turtle at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802); www.theglasshouse.us June 15, 7 p.m. $10-$12. All ages.
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