When I think in depth about modern city life, I come away with two constrasting images. The first is a world of plenty, characterised by the affluency of the people, the embarrassment of riches on offer, and the bright, ever changing advertising boards. The second is a bleaker picture, dominated by poverty, and peppered with industrial buildings. I imagine poor workers trudging to and from factories each day just to make ends meet, living on the bread-line, surrounded by newly abandoned buildings which are slowly being reclaimed by the earth. New Topographics is derived from a photography project bearing the same name, and it sought to capture the power, if not at first the beauty, of the stark and the real. It chooses to highlight tired, decaying buildings in a bid to champion them, and to give people a glimpse into what went on inside those crumbling walls for decades. Our heavily airbrushed society places such an emphasis on one dimensional external beauty, that the various forms it takes are often completely ignored. Talons, like William Jenkins’ exhibition before them, are challenging this concept by capturing the moody, the expansive, the eerie and the state of ruin by showing that if you look hard enough, you can find something to admire just about anywhere.
New Topographics sees Talons expand their sound exponentially, to one which builds ambitiously and without fear, to one where repetition is welcomed with open arms and dense atmospheres obscure practically all else from view. The songs all feel incredibly comfortable in their own skin, and they swell slowly adding more little by little, all the while ensuring that they don’t collapse under their own weight. Just take mammoth opener ‘Monuments;’ heavily reverberated guitars scream unaided until they’re joined by a thick bassline and foreboding violins - building and building in stature until finally a brief respite is allowed. Rather like the remainder of the album, the song quickly regains momentum, surging once again into the thick of things until its completion. Most importantly, it’s the atmosphere and the feelings which are evoked that makes ‘Monuments’ so powerful. It conjures pictures of desolate landscapes, neglected and ravaged by time. It makes you picture the despair that comes with finding out that you’re no longer significant, and further compounds it with the knowledge that you will never again be restored to your former glory. It may be sad, but it also allows you to explore the bountiful times and the stories behind the wreckages. It lets you wonder just how important it used to be, how vital a hub it once was, and it encourages you to imagine the lives that were once touched by its existence.
It continues this provocative theme throughout. It paints bleak, but very real pictures through its crushing volleys of guitars and strings, and it strikes a deeply ingrained emotional chord, one which can only truly be hit when we’re completely engulfed by something efficacious. Despite how long it lingers in the eerie and perturbed, New Topographics still manages to be accessible, and it leaves you feeling pensive rather than destitute. Just like the exhibition many years ago, Talons have proven that there really is beauty everywhere, especially in the places where you least expect it.
They remind me a little of Maybeshewill, with all the strings and epic atmospheres. I already checked it, love it, and want to give it about a 3.7 to a 4.1 somewhere. The problem is that in my history, I've never been able to really stay connected to an instrumental album. I'm so into lyrics that albums without words usually end up fading over the years. Oh well, might as well take the chance on this and if nothing else I'll get enjoyment out of it for the rest of 2014.
Glad to hear it man, though I know what you mean about connecting to instrumental albums to a degree. They have to be pretty intense to get any sort of rating above a 3, as the twinkly stuff, although pretty, doesn't have any lasting power for me (no lyrics, no energy etc).
that first paragraph is pretty awful. "The banality of modern life is often at its most powerful when it’s completely stripped down and examined in its starkness." this doesn't make any sense, sounds like pseudo-intellectual ruminations. modern life isn't banal (idk why anyone would say it is) but what you're saying is unoriginality is at its most powerful (what?) when it's stripped down and examined in its plainness.
"A plethora of images are conjured up when we think about modern life in all its different forms, from workers trudging to and from factories in smog filled landscapes, to abandoned buildings which have surrendered to nature and have slowly been reclaimed by the earth."
idk about you, but when i think 'modern' i think technological advancements and innovative architecual design etc.
"the images which we so often glance over in passing, or even worse, wilfully fail to see at all"
oxymoron. how can we willingly fail to see something? i can understand you saying 'willfully fail to acknowledge'.
"Our heavily airbrushed society places such an emphasis on one dimensional external beauty"
this is such an ambiguous statement. like, what do you mean when you say "society" places emphasis. what is this one-dimensional external beauty that we place such emphasis on? pretty sure beauty can be seen in many things in many mediums
i didn't read past there but i checked out a few tracks from this. it isn't bad, but not really my thing atm. post-rock fails to do much for me these days unless it's hammock or sigur ros