[11 November 2007]
In sports, intramurals are usually for people who have a little bit of game but are overmatched by more finely tuned athletes. With that thought in mind, Intramural is an unfortunate, inaccurate musical identity for Denver Dalley to assume; though Dalley is best known for his work with Conor Oberst and Desaparecidos, This Is a Landslide proves he has a significant amount of ability to aptly craft electronic soundscapes, dabbling in sounds both insistent and ambient. Instrumentally, the record is a success with Dalley and collaborator Sam Shacklock performing, arranging and producing at a high level. Each of the 11 tracks on the record (save the instrumental “Inspired”) feature a different singer and, at times, the collaborations work masterfully. “From the Ground”, featuring John Roderick of The Long Winters and the title track, fronted by Greg Dulli (who sounds like a spaced out, almost animatron Elvis Costello) are album highlights; “Rocket” with vocals from Men, Women and Children’s T.J. Penzone is also a standout. Unfortunately Dalley’s creativity, at times, goes overlooked as the song takes on more of the personality of its vocalist; the fact that each vocalist wrote their part is explanatory (tracks which suffer include “Queens of Comparison” and “Folded”). Overall, the record has enough high points to be given praise but a more seamless sense of collaboration would have helped Dalley’s musical vision be fully realized.