The lurching noise-pop of Brooklyn’s Talk Normal depends on juxtaposition. As soon as one particular set of motorized rhythms and a repeated guitar phrase feels comfortable, they jump tracks, grabbing onto the next weirdness on the horizon. One song will scream ahead on the classic no wave train, but once you’re comfortable to look out the window, flares of tribal tUnE-yArDs rhythm and measured vocals rush headlong back at you. On their sophomore LP, Sunshine, they keep to their twitchy aesthetic-hopping.
No matter how scattered things get, the unifying lo-fi hum of loud amps, frenetic rhythms, and enthusiastic vocal delivery lies at the center. Opening track “Lone General” fits closest to the no wave tag that has surrounded them since their debut, propulsive bass and drums loping along under waves of static noise and yowly vocals. “XO” follows, the tom rim insistence of much recent noise-pop this time anchoring the way for the explosions of vocals and feedback.
“Bad Date” floats calmly on simple guitar phrases until high-bent screams and a James Chance sax freakout bust up the calm. But when the storm ends, the beauty of their harmonies are all the more appealing. They’re not solely reliant upon musical abrasion to skew perception. When not no wave-ing it instrumentally, they’ll amp up the weird lyrically. Much of “Hot Water Burns” reads like a long list of non sequitur suggestions. Much of it sounds like ways to get by in a hectic world (there are lots of instructions on breathing), but lines like “thank your friends/ and your mom/ turn off fans/ go to prom” could lead anywhere. This ultimately connective power strengthens through Sunshine‘s weirdness, making feedback seem as human as thanking your mom.
Essential Tracks: “Lone General”, “Bad Date”, “Hot Water Burns”