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Album Review: New Topographics by Talons

Instrumental post rock / neo classical band Talons release their sophomore album New Topographics on the 4th August. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece.

Influenced by a somewhat unorthodox writing process, this album is an exploration of the increased interconnectivity experienced in contemporary society, despite often being faced with limitations of a geographical divide.  With members of Talons spread out length and breadth of the UK, their creative process involved ideas being sent back and forth digitally, before being expanded upon and arranged collaboratively during a number of weekends of togetherness in their hometown of Hereford.

The music builds on these themes surrounding the current state of “hyper-modernity” and attempts to dissect the shared relationships we have with the places and architecture that surround us. The album takes its name from the photography exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape”, that took place in January 1975; created almost as a reaction to more idealised landscape photography, the exhibition featured images reflecting the uniform and banal, casting a sharp critical eye on modern suburbia. The music Talons have created for their latest offering is very much inspired by these notions and serves to act as a soundtrack to the imposing conformity of life in 21st century cities.

To get a more personal insight into the album read our interview with the band here. Essentially it’s a concept album, designed to be listened to through headphones, a narration of your everyday life if you will. That concept maybe difficult to grasp at first, especially as it’s instrumental, but it will as it ingrains itself in your brain it does exactly what it sets out to do. If concepts aren’t your thing then ignore it and let the music wash over you.

Talons take a huge leap with New Topographics. As evidenced with opening track ‘Monuments’ you’ll find their sound is fuller and more encompassing of all elements. If you were to find one fault in their debut Hollow Realm it could be the use of the neo classical violins. While it’s an element essential to the sound of Talons, on that debut release it didn’t always sit well, at times it jarred. You’ll find the neo classic sound in abundance on New Topographics, this time it is executed with aplomb. It sits wonderfully within the overall sound and contributes heavily to the natural flow of the album. Take ‘Reverie’ as your example – superb.

Talons really come into the fore when the violins mix and weave through the intricate and soaring guitar parts. ‘Lunar Gloss’ and ‘The Wild Places’ are great tracks, the latter has some ridiculously stunning guitar parts while the violins add a stunningly emotive edge to the former. The driving guitar riffs on ‘The Wild Places’ are both life affirming and chilling. You’ll get goose bumps as the track builds and explodes multiple times.

The fact that every track creates a perfect atmosphere, leading you through waves of different emotions makes New Topographics an utterly compelling listen. Whether it be the beautifully crafted ‘Rituals’ or ‘Stay Gold’ or the refined discordance of ‘The Dreams Have No Dreams’ you’ll find yourself engrossed. Imagine the expansive and varied sound of Brontide mixed with the guitar wizardry of And So I Watch You From Afar and the atmospherics of Mogwai and you’ll be on the right track.

New Topographics is an essential listen for any fan of post rock. Both casual and diehard fans of the genre will fall in love with this album. Even if you’re new to the genre this is your ideal starting point.

AD rating 9/10


3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Interview: Talons talk about the concepts behind the new album | Alt Dialogue
  2. Alt Dialogue’s Top 50 Albums of 2014 | Alt Dialogue
  3. Album Review: We All Know by Talons – Alt Dialogue

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