The problem with these bands that seemingly appear from nowhere and then are suspiciously suddenly everywhere, is that they are invariably just another hype creation whose bubble bursts as soon as anyone hears them. London based band Talk Show only started at the beginning of last year and I’d heard their name repeated online a bit too often before I had a chance to catch them at The Downs in Bristol, last August.
Expecting them to be trailing on the coat tails of this post punk resurgence, that seems to be swelling endlessly, it was immensely satisfying that they were far from a half-arsed cynical cash grab from a bunch of kids who had been given a mock standard issue Factory Records side parting by their label, but actually seemed to take more influence from the arty side of ‘90s US punk and no wave – albeit a definitive British take. The angular energy of furious riffs certainly worked as the Late Night Live stage quickly descended into a flailing mess, as even the most casual of onlookers were inspired to leap into action.
Having spent their inaugural year impressing audiences all around the UK, supporting Squid, Crows, Pip Blom, Fontaines D.C., Fat White Family, The Murder Capital and Black Country New Road, they signify they are now ready to take centre stage with the release of their debut EP, These People which upon first impressions seems to have shun the more abrasive sound I had heard before transformed into an overtly Anglicised sound more in keeping with their contemporaries and former tourmates. However, upon closer listening the savage element still largely remains, and Talk Show cut deep wherever there are jagged edges.
Lead song ‘Stress’ is the most overtly radio friendly and is surprisingly timid. While nothing overtly wrong with it, it does just feel a bit by numbers and could be tossed onto the pile of landfill post punk. Fortunately, things pick up as we progress and ‘Atomica’ with its frantic disco feel and wiry skittish guitars, has echoes of A Certain Ratio which has a rushing excitement on record and I’m looking forward to hearing played live.
The bass led track intro of ‘Banshee’ is almost touching dub territory before bursting into a bright chorus that could easily have mass appeal but doesn’t become derivative in the way ‘Stress’ does. In fact, this desperate love song could easily be mistaken for being a lost rarity from the Madchester era, though maybe a bit too incensed for that. These People ends with sneering song ‘Petrolhead’ – winding deftly played guitars are wrapped around a relentless rhythm that kicks satisfyingly hard and rages against a disposable and inconsequential world.
First track aside, Talk Show – completed by Tom Holmes (guitar), Chloe MacGregor (drums), George Sullivan (bass) and Harrison Swann (guitar/vocals) – have created a cracking first EP, which for the most part is invigorating and imaginative, made more impressive by Swann claiming that it was, “mostly written whilst on public transport.” Lasting little longer than 12 minutes, they have accurately represented the furious energy of their live performances and show real promise for the year ahead – just so long as they can avoid the falling onto the currently well-trodden paths and develop something truly unique.
These People is out on 27 March via Council Records.
March Live Dates
03 – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham (support to Marika Hackman)
04 – Annie Mac Presents, Oslo, London
27 – Independent Venue Week Tour – Dolls House, Abertillery
29 – Independent Venue Week Tour – Le Pub, Newport
30 – Independent Venue Week Tour – The Bunkhouse, Swansea
31 – Independent Venue Week Tour – Udegun Arts Space, Wrexham
April Headline UK Tour Dates
17 – Nice ‘N’ Sleazy, Glasgow
18 – YES, Manchester
20 – Bodega Social Club, Nottingham
22 – The Crofters Rights, Bristol
23 – Lafayette, London
24 – The Green Door Store, Brighton
Photo: Matt Wilder