Any album that open with slashing scuzzed guitars and indie grrl vocals like some energized P J Harvey acolytes fired up by the righteous disassociation with the populist movement should only be a good thing in my book. As openers go, Speak To Me Bones ticks all the right boxes in a pseudo Rid of Me way, full of slashing angular guitar chords and squiffy harmonics conjuring with attitude, heartbreak and venom. Despite this, Land of Talk do make a pretty rhythmic racket when the urge takes them, but all too often the noise falls into a sea of familiarity breeding contempt.
The trio’s duties are split with Elizabeth Powell providing the vocals, leaving Chris McCarron (bass) and the mysterious eRock to supply the Sonic Youth-esque (lite) backings. Don’t be intrigued into thinking this is ‘art-rock’ with all its gloriously askew tunings and wayward way with ambient noise dynamics. No, no, no, they have their day-glo colours firmly sellotaped in bad crayon handwriting to the lollystick-mast.
The promise of ‘anything special’ gets swept aside when the fagged-out drawl of Sea Farm hobbles into view. like a Breeders cast-off. Similarly, the sprightly Breaxxbaxx is no slouch on the guitar attacks, but the overall effect is of someone cramming their favourite ‘noise albums’ in a blender and feeding you a bland smoothie. Al My Friends should be a lawsuit from Kim Gordon(or Deal) with its louche femme sleaze inc. over the ‘rad by numbers’ backing. But, I know what you’re thinking, how can this reviewer equate this seemingly credibly-name-checked album to mere wannabe status? The answers are in the delivery that is thin (verging on anorexic) and the intent (which is merely holding candle to the sunshine).
But for all their slavish copyisms there are moments of lyrical intrigue as in the tangible twists of Summer Special’s “look at those girls so young, still piss their pants…with their heart snakes lazy”.
The full album onslaught is preceded by the sloppy-hearted sneer of Young Bridge, that bears some semblance of tune beneath an acre of aimless emoting and sludge-by-numbers indie-scmindie backing. The following Street Wheels is the result of a DNA mix-up between the narcotic and sultry scuzz of Mazzy Star those fey popsters The Sundays and even the gothic western of Tarnation to really draw you in. so similair in tone and presentation is As an introduction it drags its heels in a pretty but pointless way that neither intrigues or excites. Like a teenager picking its scabs in the changing rooms of H & M. But its change of pace away from mid-paced forgettable indie-rock is a blessed relief.
In the Land of Talk, the hackneyed woman is not queen. She is merely the servant to a legacy already forged, and can only do shadow puppetry. The main problem being the Blonde Redhead vocals of Powell who is just trying too hard and ends up being just plain annoying. Nothing special from something that has (all too brief) flashes of something truly disparagingly, devastatingly different, but falling far from the mark. Shame.