Review Summary: Talk Talk's lost offspring.
Imagine Talk Talk taking a turn down a fork in the road and it leading them into a path even narrower than the one previously strolled. Along the newly discovered path they confront some sort of obstacle that splits them apart. Pick whatever you want it to be, a sharp crackling fire or some rabid animal. The omen has it's way with a member and injures or perhaps kills him, which inevitably leads to a more dark and raw emotionally influenced group. Talk Talk decides they can't allow their current name to linger on after the loss, resulting on the decision of .O.rang as a replacement. And the switch shines exceptionally well, evicting that type of insanity or distraught that can come with certain moments of loss in life. Yet somehow within the change, they manage to keep the subtle textures and gracious elements of the previous sound that placed a huge stamp for them on the map of music. While Talk Talk was the audible form of discovering faith, .O.rang is the aftermath - a celebration of holding true to that faith despite whatever odds you are up against. It sweeps it's listener through lush uncharted terrain that at times may be deemed a bit frightening. However there's a light at the end of their madness, and if you make it through it all you'll certainly find yourself dancing along - content with the experience as a whole.
A different perspective on the sound (that may be a bit more relatable for those who have not heard the album) could showcase the song After the Flood going out on it's own after Laughing Stock's underground success. Finding a wife, building a home in a desolate rainforest, having a few children and then coining them collectively with the title, Herd of Instinct
. .O.rang is the soundtrack of these children's lives within their feral/third world environment. As if they're running through various murky puddles of rain during a sunshower, it paints a vivid atmosphere for it's audience. Very full and alive, consuming your mind and forcing you to pay attention to every minute detail. Much more abrasive and abstract than any Talk Talk release - insanely deep and layered to the brim with various voice samples, rain, tribal drum beats, cymbal clashes, thunder, eerie jitters and extremely grooving bass lines. Reminiscent drone that carries something along the lines of what Animal Collective has produced in recent memory but much more sophisticated and traceable. The material feels improvised and then pieced together, showcasing how truly remarkable these two musicians worked off of each other. Unlike Talk Talk's work, the song structures in .O.rang were not planned before being recorded - directly quoting Webb, "it was recorded before it was written."
Herd of Instinct
is a special and unnoticed gem that is must for any avid Talk Talk or Mark Hollis follower. Not only does it dig deeper into the minds of two hailed geniuses, but it also keeps things very fresh and creative - proving that Lee Harris and Paul Webb made phenomenal contributions to the work of their previous group and can undoubtedly carry their own weight outside of it.