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Album Review: Offerings by Typhoon

Portland 11-piece Typhoon release their fourth album Offerings on 12th January via Roll Call Records. The album’s concept centres on a fictional man who is slowly losing his memory. Influenced by film makers like David Lynch, Federici Fellini and Christopher Nolan as much as anything else musical, it mirrors sensations of fear, anxiety and claustrophobia, and asks questions of what happens to a person when they lose their sense of self and history. “I’ve always been preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory. I wanted to explore the questions: What does a person become if they don’t know where they came from? What is the essential quality of the person if you strip away all memory?” explains singer/songwriter Kyle Morton.

It’s a deeply moving and challenging album. It’s ambitious, not shying away from contemporary life and the feelings of fear and anxiety within the first section of the album. At this point it’d best to explain that the album is divided into four movements (Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning, and Afterparty) to represent the mental phases the main character goes through where he first realizes that something is wrong, then struggles through the chaos of his situation, and finally moves into acceptance before succumbing to his dreadful fate. It’s this first section that really hooks you in, amongst the bleakness there’s something cathartic and relatable. There’s more of an indie-rock feel compared to previous output, more akin to Manchester Orchestra of Portugal The Man.

To set the right tone for the story, Morton went for a less horns, more guitar approach. “We have a little bit of trumpet on this record and a lot of string arrangements. But we really strayed away from the horn arrangements. I wanted it to be a darker, more intense rock record, so it’s very guitar-based. It’s going back to my rock roots before Typhoon,” says Morton.

The character’s downward spiral continues through the album’s second movement, Flood, while in the third, Reckoning, comes the absolute-zero moment where the character is ready and willing to let go of life. Reckoning kicks off with ‘Coverings’, which is the first song Morton ever co-wrote with a band member – Shannon Steele, who also sings on it. It’s on this track and the final movement that Offerings peaks again. With the album moving into a more emotional and fragile arena you’d be hard pushed to not feel some affinity with it. As the album ends with the acoustic ‘Sleep’, the character decides that instead of taking part of the chaos, he’d rather sacrifice himself.  But there is light at the end of this dark, emotional journey. “The secret track, ‘Afterparty,’ is where he finds peace and freedom. It’s his homecoming. He’s on the other side of it now and has found his version of Heaven,” says Morton.

The bleakness is how Offerings excels. Its wonderfully captivating and expansive throughout, largely due to the impressive and intricate musicianship on show. A brilliant start to 2018

AD Rating 8/10

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