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Talk Normal : Sunshine

Some clever dick once said that jazz was just a bunch of guys standing around in a room playing different songs at the same time, but whilst that description is often unfortunately accurate it can also result in some of the most exhilarating music you’ll ever hear. With deep-rooted links to jazz’s more out-there exponents, the same thinking could be applied to Brooklyn’s experimental rock scene and on their second album Sunshine, Talk Normal – the duo of Sarah Register and Andrya Ambro – walk a similarly fine line between good and bad noise: for the first few minutes of opener “Lone General” martial drums, percussive guitars, lurching bass and dual vocals bump violently against each other, veering dangerously close to complete chaos before suddenly coalescing into a surprisingly sturdy wall of post-punk noise. It’s a recurring theme throughout a record that constantly seems at war with itself. Rhythm and noise try to pull away from one another but always end up snapping back together; melody and dissonance get into sisterly catfights then hug and harmonise once more. Almost every song includes at least one unexpected left-turn – “XO”‘s sing-song hook, squalling saxophones on the droning “Bad Date“, the ghost of glam-rock on “Shot This Time” – making Sunshine a thrilling and genuinely unpredictable listen, and whilst there are obvious echoes of female art-rock icons past and present (Karen O, Kim Gordon and – particularly on the hypnotic “Hot Water Burns” – Laurie Anderson), Register and Ambro have hit on a sound that is edgy, exciting and – most importantly – original.

Sunshine is out now via Joyful Noise Recordings and is streaming over at Spin; listen to “Cover” below.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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