Review Summary: If Hunger and Thirst was the beauty of a hopelessly long night, A New Kind of House is the rising sun. I just can’t wait to see what the new day brings.
It’s evident that Typhoon are aiming for a much different feel on A New Kind of House. For one thing, the title of the EP indicates that the band has intended for there to be some sort of permanent change. While Hunger and Thirst was absolutely beautiful and stunning, it was also an almost entirely dark and gloomy journey. The few brighter spots on the record were only for temporary relief from sorrow, or were ironic or altogether sarcastic. This time, the band has accomplished something different. Very much of the music here has an uplifting feel. However, the words Morton sings and the way he delivers them definitely aren’t those of a man who has found happiness. That’s the true beauty of this new Typhoon sound. They avoid a morbid reputation without sacrificing the depth and emotional charge of their previous album.
A New Kind of House literally starts where 2010’s Hunger and Thirst left off. The end of that album’s closing track quietly loops at the beginning of “The Honest Truth” until the last chord leads into loud strumming that has a striking feel of bearing good news. The band’s tight staccatos back front man Kyle Morton for the first half of the track until he begins sing familiar words to a familiar tune. For already the second time in the first track, the band is revisiting their previous album. The formerly a cappella “Mouth of the Cave” is sung again, this time with all the members playing their instruments, turning it into a fun, but moving mob shout to perfectly cap off an exciting lead-off track. Such use of an older song could come across as recycling, lacking creativity, or simply being repetitive. However, Typhoon pull it off confidently, and it definitely feels like something that was always planned instead of used as a backup idea. One track into A New Kind of House, and the listener is already experiencing strokes of brilliance.
The faux-happy fun continues as “Summer Home” begins with a quick bass line, soon joined by a guitar for a very beachy feel. The song carries a subtle pulse all the way through, with layered and syncopated vocals thrown in by the whole band for good measure. Of course, they’re all still perfectly capable of pulling back their voices and instruments at just the right time for a few touching lines of just Morton and his guitar, before building back up to the full, polished sound of the entire band. The song climaxes to another quiet moment where Morton declares “I will wait for the summer/ I will hold out for summer” while the rest of the group repeats after him almost theatrically, sounding as though they’ve been through a great deal of trials together, but won’t give up. It’s executed perfectly, and is a truly chilling moment.
Another visit to the past is greatly appreciated on the third track, “Claws, Pt. 1.” Hunger and Thirst contained a song mysteriously named “CPR/Claws, Pt. 2” with no explanation for what or where the first part was. Now we finally get to hear it on A New Kind of House, and it sure is an interesting listen. At nearly eight minutes, it’s one of the band’s lengthiest songs. The track and its sequel share a few lyrics, as well as musical phrases, drum patterns, and great use of handclaps. However, this one feels like a totally different take on the concepts the second “Claws” explored. It’s definitely more aggressive and is a welcome addition to Typhoon’s library.
A New Kind of House takes a much simpler, more straightforward turn for the last two tracks. “Kitchen Tile” is a mere minute and a half long, but it’s still a perfect example of a classic Typhoon buildup that teases the listener and leaves them wanting to hear more. The final song, “Firewood,” has a very touching sound. Even though it’s more or less a piano-based ballad, which is definitely unusual for Typhoon, it still doesn’t conform to any traditional song structure of verses and choruses. It’s really quite refreshing to hear after an album and a half full of long, complicated songs. It also provides perfect closure for the EP sweetly and earnestly, as it becomes even more evident that Morton wishes he could return to his childhood.
Typhoon’s quality hasn’t wavered one bit, and this EP is another example of perfect modern music. It’s interesting, catchy, complex at the right times, and full to the brim with emotion. Plus, it’s even more rewarding when the band’s previous release is kept in mind. If Hunger and Thirst was the beauty of a hopelessly long night, A New Kind of House is the rising sun. I just can’t wait to see what the new day brings.