The Last Mixed Tape reviews The Talkies, the much anticipated sophomore studio album from Girl Band.
The Talkies is the sound of the unrestrained instinctual id of music. An album of pure raw expression, everything about Girl Band’s return is a reflex that screams and yells from the speakers with a music unconcerned with making you fell comfortable or in control of what’s happening.
From the outset the feral nature of The Talkies takes center-stage as the record opens with almost two minutes of deep heavy breathing (‘Prolix’) that establishes the album’s tense mood and abstract approach immediately and effectively. There are few albums in recent memory that begin in such an utterly foreboding way.
This slow, dark opener is suddenly undercut by the contorted noise-rock abstraction of ‘Going Norway’ as the music twists, screams and writhes, sounding like its been out through a thresher and re-assembled over and over again within a production that always feels like its on the verge of falling apart but brilliantly keeps its balance.
Indeed, the attention to mood and expressionism that lies at the heart of The Talkies permeates from every inch of the record, as Girl Band take their disregard for the mainstream the nth degree with the menacing slow-build and eventual brooding beat pay-off of ‘Shoulderblades’. While the lyrics augment and move around the music, with lines like “feel like a chicken, act like a cock” and the repetitive “like a hat for Ed Mordrake” delivered with equal parts frustration and isolation.
The deconstructionist milieu of The Talkies also adds to this growing sense of abstraction, as the record starts falling apart at the seams sonically during the closing moments of ‘Aibohphobia’ and the short shape vignettes of ‘Akineton’, ‘Amygdala’ and ‘Caveat’ provide an almost three-stage release after the all-encompassing collage of noise and primal screams found in ‘Salmon of Knowledge’.
Girl Band’s The Talkies works like a Francis Bacon piece. There’s an undercurrent of visceral unease that dominates every facet of the music, everything you would come to expect is taken from its original context and put through a surreal expressionistic filter, one that spits it all back out in a way that the form of the songs and the meaning behind them seem abstracted from their origins. The Talkies isn’t predictable, nothing is where our ears expect it to be and that’s whats so captivating about it. Much like Francis Bacon, Girl Band lay everything out bare but its up to us to find the meaning behind it.
The Talkies by Girl Band is due out on September 27th via Rough Trade Records.