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Talons return this week with 'New Topographics', an album which sees the band move from the alt-folk prettiness of previous releases into epic instrumental territory. The press release says "the band have incorporated a stronger neo-classical influence, as well as employing a much more rhythmic and expansive sound, heightening their emphasis on the dynamic range of the music". Roughly translated, this means they have made an album of rather early-'00s-sounding post-rock.
This isn't a criticism, though, and their two guitars, two violins, drums and bass formation is ideally suited to such music. They move assuredly from sad, droney quietness to steadily crescending Godspeed You Black Emperor / Explosions In The Sky dramatics, with a bit of a jagged post-punk noise-rock kind of distortion to some of the guitar tones which brings to mind A Place To Bury Strangers. I'm particularly liking the shoegazey onslaught of 'Rituals' which opens side B. Forward Russia!'s Tom Woodhead has done a good job achieving a rich, dense sound. If this had come out in 2001 a lot more people would be paying attention.
8/10 Wally Customer review, 8th October 2014
A 'man altered landscape' fit for Godzilla to dance with destruction builds from a simple piano opening, like a rent in the tissue of the aforementioned beast's skin. From it pours the soul of a monstrous sound.
This album finally delivers what the band so effortlessly produce live and what, for me, their first album 'Hollow Realm' didn't quite manage.
This album swirls between their own unique brutal orchestra sound and the love child of latter Yann Tiersenn and MBV. Beautiful beautiful cathedral soundscapes resounding in a majesty becoming of their, and my, home city.
'Reverie' has that overtone of wet cathedrals that even as an atheist I admire. 'Lunar Gloss' returns to the opening salvo of monuments to continue the battle, with a solid canon drum attack. Yes there are elements of Led Zeppelin, but far more orchestral.
'The wild places', pounds and pounds at the head until the requiem penetrates and we the listener are lifted soaring in the maelstrom.
Side two starts with 'Rituals', a song on the edge of a summer feelgood being mercilessly attacked by Hitchcocks's autumnal birds until all that remains is the snowflake fallout of the new years winter.
And on and on the layers piledrive through, jet engines whine as foundations crumble and hammer drills attack as 'Petrovice' concludes the architect-aural journey.
These landscapes are brutal and heart stopping but worthy of more than a lingering meander and some may even become favourite destinations to spend longer times revisiting for their inner beauty.
Play loud and damn the architects.
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- New Topographics by Talons
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