Talkdemonic Beat Romantic

[ARRCO; 2006]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles:  folktronic-hop
Others: Four Tet, Menomena, Caribou, Explosions in the Sky

With their album prior, Mutiny Sunshine, we were introduced to a largely one-man affair. Kevin O'Connor supplied the bulk of the instrumentation, beats, samples, and writing of the music. This was his shit extended and expressed in aural fashion. While other artists appeared on some of the tracks, it was still O'Connor's album. Keeping these beginnings in mind and recognizing the inclusion of Lisa Molinaro into the fray, we are introduced to an album with inspired roots and dirty boots.

While things have been dusted off and tightened up for this go around, sonically, Beat Romantic offers much of the same instrumental lineup from before: viola, drums, banjo, keys, and laptop. The banjo and viola play a larger role as beats and swells run throughout the entirety of the album, giving Beat Romantic a more integrated and comprehensive sound. The keys have been manipulated in impressive fashion, hitting every spot they're supposed to hit, while the viola heaves out whatever you have left. Writing three of the album's 16 tracks and collaborating on the entirety, Molinaro has given Talkdemonic an emotive quality and range that weren't present on the album prior. Much more "feminine," surprise, surprise... keep the balls out but respect.

Beat Romantic is a more focused, mature, and accessible affair. Both the collaboration between, and reciprocal influence of, Molinaro and O'Connor shine through in inspiring fashion. It has been a while since an album so succinctly summed up such a varied palette of emotions (it sounds less cheesy in Spanish). While convolution oftentimes takes over when trying to express ourselves, Beat Romantic offers simple, straightforward discourse that makes me wish I spoke banjo so I might be understood a little better. Maybe that's the beauty of it. Talkdemonic have taken these seemingly disparate instruments and stated with music what can't be easily stated with words.

1. Veraison
2. Mountaintops in Caves
3. Dusty Flourescent/Wooden Shelves
4. Junesong
5. Cascade Locks
6. Skyscraper
7. Bering
8. Human Till Born
9. Sept With Smith
10. Manhattan '81
11. Mountain Cats
12. White Gymnasium
13. Axe & Red Sweater
14. Lightning & Butterflies
15. Hillside Monarch
16. Vérité

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