Talk Normal is another one of the genre bending and challenging artists on the Joyful Noise Recordings roster. Ā They are a strange combination of noise rock and indie rock. Ā I’m still not exactly sure where I land on them, but I find them strangely intriguing. Ā Regardless, they’ve got a pretty sweet looking split color vinyl that is limited to 500 and currently on sale for 20% off if you’re a JNR VIP member.
Hot Water Burns
Shot This Time
Baby Your Hearts Too Big
On Talk Normal's sophomore LP Sunshine, the Brooklyn duo unveil songs that sparkle with melody and dissonance. Jarring rhythms and feedback-drenched guitar tones lace Sunshine's nine surprisingly songful tunes - creating a sound informed by their predecessors (Cocteau Twins, Velvet Underground, Laurie Anderson & Creatures), but strikingly new.
After years of friendship, Sarah Register and Andrya Ambro's Talk Normal first emerged on the NYC music scene in 2007, initially releasing demos, cassettes and their Secret Cog vinyl EP. Following the 2009 release of their debut album Sugarland on Rare Book Room Records (recorded and mixed by Nicolas Vernhes), Talk Normal released a handful of 7"s (including a split 7" with Thurston Moore on Nathan Howdeshell from The Gossip's Fast Weapons Records) and shared the stage with the likes of Sonic Youth, Wire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Zola Jesus.
In the three years since Sugarland, Talk Normal have refined their noisy vigor into the diverse batch of songs found on Sunshine. Tracks like "Bad Date", "Cover", and "Hurricane" carry almost a meditative emotional energy, where others like "Sunshine" and "Shot This Time" err on the side of explosive driving rock. Plus dance-y "XO", narrative noisers "Lone General" and "Baby, Your Heart's Too Big", and standout vocal harmonies on "Hot Water Burns". Produced by the band, Sunshine was recorded in 2011 by Christina Files at Vacation Island Studios in Brooklyn NY and Echo Canyon West in Hoboken NJ (Files also contributed to production). Allen Farmello mixed at The Snow Farm in Brooklyn NY. Written over the course of years, culminating in frequent jumps from studio to studio, and with the band going on two month-long tours mid-process (!) this album is laced with a sense of urgency and jubilation unique to the path it traveled into reality.
Unlike traditional noisy-rock, Talk Normal's Sunshine is steeped in melody, albeit unconventional melody. Sweet-sounding female vocals are present throughout, sometimes as sung lyrics and sometimes as instruments themselves. Ambro & Register's combined voices often volley back and forth, each providing equal contributions to vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation - meticulously orchestrating not only the arrangements, but also the tonality of each collected sound. As Pitchfork describes: "(their) vocals can handle both desperate screech and matter-of-fact detachment somewhere between Karen O and Kim Gordon". Combined with Register's flowing, nearly-drony riffs and Ambro's finely choreographed beats, the end result is a natural sonic cohesion. Maybe not the sunshine you're used to, but rays within which you'll want to bask.
"Talk Normal's intensity hasn't subsided. If anything, Sunshine cranks things up a notch... Eschewing easy crescendos and flashy turns, Talk Normal build tension strictly from momentum. Register and Ambro persistently dole out rigorous beats, sheets of guitar, and woven singing until what began as a orderly march feels like headlong rush."
"Unhinged, visceral noise rock."
-- TINY MIX TAPES
"A horizon meltingly lush skronk-rock meditation."
"Sunshine is a thing of rusting rawness that hits as hard as [Thurston Moore] at his melody violated bluntness... [it] is a violent force of targeted creativity."
"dreamy and cacophonous"
"More like a solar flare than sunbeams."
"It shifts and folds in on itself, sounding like several songs packed into one and showcasing how the duo is unafraid to experiment with structure."
"The music is complex, but not in a Philip Glass orchestral kind of way... [they] avoid any predictable musical patterns you might have heard in the last 40 years of listening."
--THIS IS FAKE DIY
"If Talk Normal are not a guitar band, then they are a noise band, and an intimidatingly good one at that."
--DROWNED IN SOUND
"Talk Normal is on top of a game that hardly anybody else has the ability to play, much less master."
-- THE VINYL DISTRICT
"There's nobody else who sounds like Talk Normal."
"Sunshine is entrenched in texture, depth and sonic growth. Maturity is perhaps a condescending term to use, but the transition and evolution from the groupā€™s debut to this is one that is on a steady incline."
-- LOUD AND QUIET
"They're not solely reliant on musical abrasion to skew perception. When not no-waving it instrumentally, they'll amp up the weird lyrically."
-- CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND
"Hell, give [Andrya Ambro] toothpicks and a silver dollar and she will create sounds so tremendous and esoteric your toes will curl with delight."
-- BOXX MUSIC MAGAZINE
"The Brooklyn duo's sophomore effort is an extremely refined and stylish affair... melding fractured rhythms, chanted vocals and that angry, sonic charm which has come to define the band."
"Sort of reminds you of the first time you heard The Raincoats and The Slits and realized that women have a greater command of every musical property than men do."
--THE BIG TAKEOVER
"A lovely mix of suitably urban fragility vibrating beneath a seemingly controlled cacophony of rolling punk-edge drum rhythms."
"... they ride a constant wave of subtle tension with a combination of polyrhythmic drumming, atonal guitar riffs, and detached, almost robotic vocals."
--ROCK A ROLLA
"[Talk Normal] teeter on the edge of chaos."
"Sunshine is somewhat of an ironic title, given how dark this music sounds. However, that sound is intriguing and unlike anything else released this week. Recommended."
--THE WHITEBOARD PROJECT
"This music feels so curiously now that it's hard to listen and not impulsively believe that it's genuinely important. It'll sound as good on your stereo speakers at home as it will on tiny earphones, fighting with rather than against the background noise of day-to-day existence. Fuck the sound of 2012, fuck the sound of 2013 - this is the living, breathing sound of your life and mine right now."
-- THE LINE OF BEST FIT
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- Maybe Buy
- Not My Style
- Too Expensive