Artist: Talk Less, Say More
Title: England Without Rain
Released: February 2013
Artist Country: England
Label: Records on Ribs
License: CC BY-NC-SA
I mentioned in a previous review that the whole genres as a marketing tool is very annoying to me. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the information for this release and saw that it marked “indietronics”. I seriously wish we could put an end to the genre as a marketing method madness. Okai? Thx.
Okay, setting aside my genre rant, there is a lot to this recording to like. This is a recording that in many ways is better than most commercial releases I’ve heard in the past few years. This is a recording that is extremely well produced and engineered. This recording proves that artists can now produce recordings that are every bit as good as ones that used to cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce, without the same level of expense.
But, if the music itself wasn’t good, the engineering and production values wouldn’t matter. (Well, maybe in some EDM the music wouldn’t matter.) And Talk less, Say More doesn’t just deliver good music! On England Without Rain we get exceptional post-modern electronic pop with an infusion of Japanese acoustic Koto to enhance an already slightly skewed texture that is a primary charm of these songs. The last thing I would think of when imagining England was a Japanese texture. But it works in this context, the addition of the Koto (and glockenspiel and several other exotic instruments) modifies the texture of the music as much as removing the rain modifies your perception of England.
All of these tracks bristle and pop with bass hooks and post-pop rhythms, with vocals that range from Brad Sucks and Brad Roberts (of Crash Test Dummies), to psychedelic and German synth-pop style. But, there are songs that even break that mold, such as Black Eyes with its refrain of “Take take take me / deep deep deep into / your Sicilian sleep sleep sleep” which reminds me of a childhood round-style songs (such as London Bridge is Falling Down).
Lyrically every song is cohesive and tight. The lyrics are revealing, and take small turns that show a sense of humor underneath what could have become an over-bearing confessional. But that was never going to happen, as the opening vocal explains: “I feel like making a record / Of everything I’m feeling / being careful not to be too revealing”.
And, it’s that framing that makes this an incredibly satisfying listen: it’s detailed on all levels, from the song composition and arrangements, to the lyrical details and throughout the production and engineering. This is a record everyone should hear. Possibly the biggest compliment I can pay it is: I would buy this album, even if it wasn’t available as a free download. It really is one of the must-have releases of 2013. One I am certain I will still be listening to in 2014 and 2015.