by / May 2nd, 2017 /

Talos – Wild Alee

 2/5 Rating

(Feel Good Lost)

Eoin French has been bouncing around the Irish music scene for a while now. After his first band Hush War Cry folded, he retreated before returning in late 2014 under the name Talos, buoyed by the support of the Feel Good Lost label. He continues his push for prominence with his thirteen track debut album Wild Alee.

The album continues in the vein of his previous releases, all soaring vocals and polished production. In fact, three of those previous releases are included here, in the form of debut single ‘Tethered Bones’, 2015’s ‘In Time’ and 2016’s ‘Your Love Is An Island’. Of the ten new tracks, very few deviate from the established template. Hushed guitars or synths open almost every track, joined by more with some reverb added, followed by a dynamic shift around two minutes into each track. Everything seems slathered in reverb, leaving the tracks sounding hollow and empty. Structurally speaking it is cookie cutter songwriting and it induces an aural déjà vu, as it often feels like you’ve already heard the track you’re listening to.

There are two derivations from this style on the album. One is the short track ‘Piece[s]’, which involves a pretty chord sequence on piano with French’s vocals over the top. The other is ‘209’, which involves a heavier drumbeat and a more restrained vocal. Both pieces are a welcome change of pace and more tracks like these could have broken the album up nicely. Other than these there’s no break from the same mid-tempo plodding that makes up most of the album.

Wild Alee is an exercise in pop songwriting and production, although one that is seemingly lacking in any kind of hooks. There are no rough edges, everything is burnished to a gleaming shine. This album genuinely feels like it could have been made by anyone, such is the lack of personality on it. It’s a series of lifeless recordings, technically accomplished but lacking any kind of spark. It is a genuinely underwhelming and frustrating debut album from French and his producers.

 

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  • Tibbie Dunbar

    Who is this reviewer and why does he think he’s in a position to make all these statements? This is a horrible review and I’m surprised that you were allowed publish this without years of experience and credibility as a musician, critic and journalist behind you. I’ve actually never read anything like this from even the most experienced critics. I’d like to hear you make an album like this, or better, and maybe then you could say most of what’s written here. Even still, that would be really bad form. I wonder how much spark you have, if all you can do is viciously criticize others. No one wants to read bad reviews like this one, ever. It just does no good for anyone. A good reviewer can spot and describe the strengths in something even if it’s not to their tastes, and maybe then they can make some subjective comments about how it wasn’t to their liking. I’ve never been compelled to comment on an article before, but I can’t help it in this case, sorry.

  • Fintan Maher

    Am, “without years of experience and credibility as a musician, critic and journalist behind you.” This statement is immediately null and void, because it’s preceded by this “Who is this reviewer…”.

    How about you review the album and post that as a comment, instead of reacting as if someone has badmouthed your best friend’s greatest achievement.

    Talos does need to work on making tracks sound less similar. I enjoy the music, but it’s lacking dynamically.

  • Tibby Dunbar

    Fair play to you, you’re doing your best to delegitimise my comment by picking apart my language. I imagine that my comment would be really hard to read if I wrote that review alright, and I knew that when I wrote it. I just think it’s terrible for an Irish reviewer to give a debut album from an Irish band such a ruthless, reductive, vicious review, and the reviewer needs to get that message even if it’s hurtful for him to hear that his criticism is shit.

    I agree that the album is too long, and could maybe benefit from more dynamic and variety in the sound, but at the same time it’s a well developed unique sound that I dont think just anyone could make. It’s the product of someone’s imagination and hard work, which isn’t easy to put out there. Is this review going to lead to better music? I dont think so. I think this attitude just perpetuates fear of expression among Irish bands, and that’s why I’m so angry to read this.

  • cmb

    So do you think all music reviews should only ever be unwaveringly positive? What’s the point of reviewing something in that case?

  • Tibbie Dunbar

    No, not at all. I think some of the criticism here is fair too, but it goes way beyond reason for it to be ok. It’s only going to reflect badly on the reviewer more than anything else. Especially since Ireland is such a small place, this isn’t going to do him any favours.

  • cmb

    But being Irish shouldn’t give an artist a free pass if the reviewer doesn’t think it’s any good. That’s just nepotism.

    What’s the difference between an Irish reviewer criticising an Irish musician, and you, an Irish reader criticising an Irish reviewer?

    As a writer (not with State) I never particularly enjoy writing negative reviews but there’s very little point in just pretending to like something out of politeness.

  • Tibbie Dunbar

    You’re absolutely right, Irish bands shouldn’t have a free pass among Irish critics, or audiences, but they should be given particular interest, attention and care too, by audiences and critics. So I think it’s better to try and at least hear what they’re trying to say and do rather than dismissing it like this review does. I’m sure you know yourself that it’s really bad journalistic practice to be so unbalanced when writing a review.

    Also, I think that he deserves my harsh review of his review, so that he can feel what it’s like for musicians to read horrible and vicious reviews. Only I dont think he put as much work and thought into his review as Eoin French did into this album.

  • cmb

    I don’t think this review is particularly unfair or unbalanced simply because it’s negative. It offers up reasonable opinions and backs them up with justification. Getting appraisal both positive and negative is just what happens when you release music into the world and while it can be frustrating to read a negative response to something you’ve created or something you enjoy, musicians who want their work to be written about should be prepared for the fact that what gets written won’t always be what they want to hear.