Iron Horse fills with ‘Fun and Laughter’

By Sam Butterfield

Montreal indie rockers Land of Talk brought their tight, fast-paced act to Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall Friday night, drawing a solid crowd of devoted fans to promote their new EP “Fun and Laughter.”

The set lasted just under an hour and the group played just one song from the new release, “May You Never.”

The band came on a bit after the show’s scheduled 10 p.m. start, but when the trio, which occasionally employed a fourth member, emerged, they rocked hard.

The set opened with a cover of Pop Off Tuesday’s “See My Ghost,” with faint, almost distant droning guitar synched well with singer Elizabeth Powell’s wispy voice.

From there, the band transitioned to a loud, fast rendition of “Corner Phone,” with Powell wailing away and a barrage of high-energy guitar and fast-paced drums.

Next was the smooth, melodic, yet heavy, and downward-slanting “Magnetic Hill,” where the band, for the first time in the set, used background vocals and brought on a second guitarist.

Next was “Sea Foam,” the opening song to the band’s first EP, “Applause Cheer Boo Hiss!” With a tempered, slow building guitar and a well-timed snare drum, which stayed in the background until the song kicked into full gear, and distant vocals at the song’s start, the track may have been the band’s best on the night.

After the song’s slow, melancholy start, it ratcheted up into one of the band’s loudest, most thrashing pieces as Powell wailed, “why would we / so close to / stay inside / scared, locked / to never come out,” on the chorus.

Next was “Some are Lakes,” the title track off of the band’s first album. It was a loud, ripping piece with droning, downward guitar and a steady, smooth breakdown before the chorus, where Powell mused on true love. “We’ve seen how sick we both were / but I’ve got you for my life / and I’ll love you like I loved you then I’ll die,” she sang.

Next, was the only song from the band’s new EP, “May You Never,” which was distinctly louder and more intense than the recorded version. For the first time, the band used a synthesizer and a delay pedal, feeding back their first few notes throughout the song, which developed into a louder piece more reminiscent of the band’s earlier work.

Powell’s shrill voice ripped throughout the piece, as the band used a four-piece format, incorporating the synth.

After a brief interlude where the group gave out copies of their EP to anyone whose first name started with B, the group segued into “It’s OK,” which featured a wispy, contemplative synth and faint, minimal vocals and light drumming. “It’s OK” was definitely the band’s slowest, quietest piece, but they found a way to incorporate a hand cymbal and back and forth between Powell and the backup vocalist.

Last was “Young Bridge,” a loud, happy song with fast tension progressing into a perfectly timed chorus set to heavy bass drums.

“You’re a sweet angel, house devil / leadin’ so right / you’re a sweet angel, house devil / leadin’ so right,” Powell belted in characteristic smoothness.

While short in duration, the set packed a powerful punch and left Land of Talk’s devoted crop of fans pleased with the work while less than thrilled with the amount. The band shared the bill with Boston-based Surprise Me Mr. Davis, with whom they share a drummer.

The band’s new EP “Fun and Laughter,” on Saddle Creek, is in stores now.

Sam Butterfiled can be reached at [email protected]