Talk Normal - Sunshine

The music is complex, but not in a Phillip Glass orchestral kind of way.

It’s not really clear if Talk Normal’s name is a reference to the infamously closed-minded request, or to Laurie Anderson’s greatest hits collection, but for all intents and purposes let’s say both.

The music is complex, but not in a Phillip Glass orchestral kind of way. Instead, they use familiar tools and pull sounds from contact microphones, unorthodox guitar work, mysterious pedals, and a standing drum kit to avoid any predictable musical patterns you might have heard in the last 40 years of listening.

This group of two, guitarist Sarah Register and drummer Andrya Ambro, actually occupy the same sonic space as one another by making the vocals a truly collaborative performance. Particularly Ambro’s vocal lines, which have this powerful cathartic tone thanks to her simultaneous drumming. On about half the record, the guitar takes a more ambient role. Instead of sharp melodies, register provides a substantial amount of guitar harm and allows the primal howling and the furious but ceremonial drumming to command the attention.

There’s a ton of pressure on ‘Hot Water Burns’, and a theme of reactionary aggression that seems to be a necessary part of the band’s ethos. Not to assign a narrative, but ‘Sunshine’ can be heard as a post-breakdown record. Not a personal breakdown, but more of a societal breakdown. And after that breakdown you don’t sing, you chant. And you definitely don’t play the drums sitting down.

Tags: Talk Normal, Reviews, Album Reviews

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