Some albums have a lot going for them, some not a lot, some only do one thing, but that one thing is enough.
In their fourth record (second with a label after their self-titled) the New Jersey band struggles (and mostly manages) to find a space between an indie-folk kind of polished pleasantness and a degree of painful sincerity that finds its roots in the Northeastern folk-punk scene.
The short first track “Au Revoir/Adios” showcases the band’s twin tonal souls: it starts with only a tambourine and a single-string acoustic guitar riff to hold up Brian Sella’s raw singing and then opens up into a deluge that’s not heavy (the amount of distortion is limited, and the guitars take the backseat in the mix) as much as it is hard, played hitting the instruments a little harder than one should.
This oscillation between tiptoeing introspection and moments of unbridled, straight-played emotionality complement the band’s lyrics about the search for meaning and connection; “I just want this to mean something to anyone, even if they don’t know who I am.” Sella sings in “Swear to God the Devil Made Me Do It”, and then again, “I wanna contribute to the chaos / I don’t wanna watch and then complain” in “Twin Size Mattress”, the song that probably ended up being the album’s manifesto.
Talon of the Hawk sings of a generation of confused teenagers grown up well into their twenties, fruitlessly waiting for the confusion to go away, only to realize that growing is a much less clear-cut, way messier process — and it’s never quite finished.
Nostalgia ensues, and we’re not even sure of what exactly.
You can stream the album on Spotify or buy a physical copy from Bar/None Records.
Below, the video for Twin Size Mattress.