Review Summary: If they so remember you, then something else will certainly get forgotten.
Typhoon is one of the strangest, most mysterious bands I've discovered in a long time. There isn't even that much information about them floating around, at least not much that's available to the casual, slightly lazy Google user. From what little I've been able to gather, Typhoon is a musically inclined group of remarkably odd young adults that ranges from 7 to 21 members at any given time that practices barefoot in a cluttered room. It sounds chaotic, doesn't it? Luckily, what could have been a disaster is actually beautiful art, thanks to the band's founder, frontman, and glue: Kyle Morton.
Hunger and Thirst is technically the second full-length release from the band, but the first to be reasonably available anywhere. “Starting Over (Bad Habits)” serves as a perfect opener to the album, easing listeners into the band's unique, organic sound by beginning with a lone shaker, then slowly introducing more instruments as well as Morton's down-to-earth vocals. The track showcases the fact that there's definitely something special going on here. Typhoon simply use instruments to make music. They prove that an epic sound is very much possible without the help of production effects.
How such a large crowd of people that are this young can collaborate and make this many right decisions about which direction to go is beyond me. The sheer plethora of members begs the question: How on earth do so many people find a musical role to fill in an indie band? It sounds like a gimmick, but there really is just that much going on without being overwhelming. Two skilled drummers, several guitarists, horn and string sections, pianists and keyboardists, auxiliary instrumentalists, and what have got to be some people who just show up to sing the layered background vocals, all manage to balance out and deliver a full, polished sound.
Many people, when involved with a band of this magnitude, wouldn't be able to resist writing some sort of over-the-top rock opera. However, Hunger and Thirst's humble lyrics suit the mood of the album perfectly. Words reflecting on the ups, but much more notably the downs, of life itself companion the music in a way that each track becomes a sort of mental journey. The members are perfectly in tune with each other, and know exactly how to make the most of each and every crescendo, pause, and sudden wall of beautiful sound. Morton's vocals are the perfect carrier, delivering the precise amount of joy or pain that each poetic lyric deserves.
Penultimate track, “Belly of the Cave,” is a seven-minute epic that incorporates pretty much everything the band has used up to this point in the album. It features all the members at their best, with perfectly placed build-ups. It's drawn out slowly, and tragically describes giving up until things take an unexpected musically happy turn for the last minute, backing up sarcastic lyrics that chime “I'll take my medicine and I will be fine.” All of this goes out with a bang before one more gorgeous irony as Morton takes the last song alone with an acoustic guitar and sparse choir vocals in “The Sickness Unto Death.” It's a truly beautiful way to cap off the album, and could not have been done better.
Typhoon are simply raw talent. The future undoubtedly only holds more perfect music from this peculiar group. It's bands like these that remind me that originality and quality still coexist in the world of modern music. Sometimes, the rare cases of such a combination are just flying way, way below the radar.