Talons
We All Know


3.0
good

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (198 Reviews)
July 29th, 2018 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Blackened post-rockers struggling to move from their comfort zone.

Instrumental music is a tricky business. Practised well, it isn’t digestible music that undemandingly follows a simple pattern: it challenges an audience to listen attentively to the song’s shifting patterns. Unless the audience engages with the music quickly, the repetitious and often directionless movement of the instrumentalism yields only drowsiness and boredom as opposed to elation and catharsis. As soon as an instrumental band truly hits the nail on the head and creates an emotive and engaging album, each subsequent release feels like a plastic, machine-made replica of a handmade work of art; pleasant enough to look at and hold but everybody is quietly aware that it’s just ‘not the same’.

On the heavy side of the spectrum, Mono’s “Hymn to the Immortal Wind”, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Lift Your Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven” and Explosions in the Sky’s “The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place”, to name a few, are arguably the band’s greatest triumphs. They are albums that are namedropped in other band’s album’s reviews (yes, I see the irony here) because they are such coherent and masterfully designed pieces of work intricately constructed to project a certain feeling or vision for all but a fleeting moment. Simply put, they are prime examples of how instrumental music ‘should’ be done. The problem here is that the majority of fresh instrumental bands use these bands and albums as a foundation to their own music, thus creating a product bereft of innovation.

Herein lies the problem that Talons’ latest album faces: it’s nothing unheard of. The sextet sways around a variety of soundscapes, moving from shivering coldness to nestling warmth and from bleak callousness to welcoming embraces with ease while each of the nine songs weaves into one another without interrupting the pacing of the album as a whole. Furthermore, their layered dynamics exhibit a certain je ne sais quoi, however, that very sensation is exactly what makes “We All Know” sound like something crucial is missing. Some songs sound like constant meandering chord progressions where you are left confused as to when the introduction ends and the verse melodies begin. Despite the different feelings Talons illustrate, the overruling feeling is that the band sounds safe.

Talons separate themselves from the pack with a strong reliance on a duo of violins which boosts each individual song’s character further. Near the end of “On Levels”, the quivering reeds are anxiety-inducing and twist the tense song into a strong state of discomfort whilst the violins shrink back into the shadows at calculated moments to allow the Pelican-esque grooves on “Over and Again” to take the lead. Meanwhile, “Movements on Seven” has a distinct Eastern touch to it with colourful, dancing ambience and frantic twirls of strings, similarly, the gentle pattering and plucking during “Southern Shade” gives the song an optimistic and positive touch.

Overall, Talons hit all the right spots but not with enough force to make an impact. “We All Know” owes much of its successes to the stand-out performances of the band’s violinists and Talons are at their best during the alienating and harsh soundscapes they create. If Talons are brave enough to incorporate more melody into their music to fill the space reserved for vocals and to separate and liven up the searching extended atmospheres, then they’d be well on their way to creating a compelling instrumental album that is not merely bowing under the influence of the genre’s masters.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
OllieS
July 29th 2018


2145 Comments


Great to see these guys get a review. I wish they were better known. They're so good - especially live. Yet to check this out but will give it a spin. Thanks for giving these guys some attention.

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
July 29th 2018


112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Anyone signed to Holy Roar Records gets my attention.

Digging: Sylvaine - Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone

JS19
July 29th 2018


6926 Comments


I just never thought Talons were anything special and they were crappy when I saw them. Idk this isn't going to change my mind is it? That's sad

Digging: Rafael Anton Irisarri - A Fragile Geography

RogueNine
July 29th 2018


3684 Comments


Blackened post-rock, now there's a combination I didn't expect to hear.

davesthesay
July 30th 2018


56 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven't enjoyed a post-rock album this much in a long time.

Digging: He Was Eaten By Owls - Inchoate With The Light Go I

AsleepInTheBack
July 30th 2018


5871 Comments


Great write up.

zaruyache
July 30th 2018


19819 Comments


so is there black metal in this? bc will check if so

Sniff
July 31st 2018


4986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay this is great

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 31st 2018


28370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Loved New Topographics, this is good but hasn't really gripped me yet.

Digging: Julia Holter - Aviary

OllieS
July 31st 2018


2145 Comments


"they were crappy when I saw them" seen them 3 times and they were amazing each time. The first time was at a disastrous all dayer where they had to deal with their set being cut short (incidentally Her Name Is Calla took the worst hit - from promised a 90min set, cut down to 30 in the end. People were so pissed). Despite that they played brilliantly with amazing energy and precision. Aggressive post-rock with some metal influences, really unique sound. And the drummer is incredible, the fill-beat distinction is often completely thrown out, so innovative. If you think they 'aren't anything special' and 'crappy', well, you're missing out.

artiswar
July 31st 2018


5550 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they're like a mini-Godspeed. Really impressed with this record

Digging: Threatin - Breaking the World

Sniff
July 31st 2018


4986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hear Dirty Three as well



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