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.