Monday, April 28, 2014
REVIEW: Strange Talk - Cast Away
The songs on Cast Away, the new LP from Melbourne's electro poppers Strange Talk, are radio friendly and commercial/jingle-ready, but don't be a hater. These guys simply have a knack for hooks and melody. And digging a bit below the surface, the band appears to have written a batch of tunes that encapsulate the spirit of summer - drives with the window open, beaches, pools, vacations, flirting, dancing, and looking up at the stars. For many, putting this record on your player may turn into a several month commitment.
And while an album full of electro-pop always raises the danger of sameness, Strange Talk has skillfully mixed up the approach. The album starts out brightly with the title track, then the club-ready "Picking Up the Pieces". "Eskimo Boy" and "Climbing Walls" dish out thick electro-funk, while the throb of disco infuses "Falling In Love". "Another Day" displays the band's dream pop chops. They soar on "Young Hearts", yearn on "So So La La" and even roll out a slow burner, guitar solo and all, on "Come Back Home". And my favorite of all is "Morning Sun", a gloriously good track with a synth riff that happily recalled for me a riff from "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals.
Cast Away is out April 29 via Wind-Up Records.
Strange Talk are Stephen Docker (vocals, keys), Gerard Sidhu (bass, keys), Travis Constable (drums), and Gillan Gregory (guitar, keys). According to the band, they are a classically trained violinist, a dance producer with a DJ background, and two funk/soul musicians. Perhaps not the precise mix you would expect, but there is no reason to question the results.