Music

Ireland's Talos Exhibits Sensitive Strength on Sophomore Record 'Far Out Dust'

Photo courtesy of artist

Talos has created a unique emotional cocktail of wonder and melancholy with Far Out Dust, despite a few shortcomings.

Far Out Dust
Talos

BMG

8 February 2019

In Greek myth, the giant automaton Talos was created for the vigilant purpose of defending the island country of Crete. It's a fitting moniker for singer-songwriter-producer Eoin French, a native of Cork, Ireland who possesses a deep appreciation for his island home and for the wondrous natural world which surrounds him. Taking cues from the likes of Jónsi, Jon Hopkins, and James Blake, the cold atmospheres of French's 2017 debut Wild Alee felt as though they were recorded in the coldest of ice caverns -- an isolated setting from which he expressed loneliness with falsettoed whispers.

Following a couple years of touring with the likes of Peter Bjorn & John and AURORA, Talos has returned with sophomore effort Far Out Dust, an expansive record which seeks to encapsulate the gargantuan strength of French's namesake. To do so, French told Riff Magazine he looked to Bruce Springsteen's "visceral masculinity" to inform a more "boisterous and anthemic" attitude. Now, don't be fooled. One does not simply trade in a whispery Jónsian approach for the raw grittiness of Springsteen. However, the focus on stronger vocal performances is evident in tracks like "On and On" and "Let Go" where French's sensitive strength reminds of the 1975's Matt Healy.

Far Out Dust isn't a complete overhaul of Talos's previous sound, however. Much of the same electronic and post-rock influences heard on Wild Alee prevail throughout the sophomore effort. Yet, the soundscapes are grander and more expansive, evoking the "wildness" (a term French uses seven times throughout the record) of Far Out Dust's Irish and Icelandic origins. Indeed, many of the more anthemic tracks ("The Light Upon Us", "To Each His Own", "In the Fold") sound destined for use in whichever young adult fantasy film is coming out next, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But Talos falls prey here to a dose of one-dimensional songwriting and production, as the majority of the songs are characterized by vague lyricism and a prevailing emotional cocktail of wonder, loneliness, melancholy, and tenacity.

French does, however, show promising signs in moments throughout the record, which, if teased, could lead to exciting projects down the road. The stripped back piano ballad "On and On" allows French's voice to soar and break with purpose, as though he were singing the blues. The following track "Let Go" is the best anthem of the record, featuring uplifting, brassy synths which climb and climb to the end. "Dawn, the Front" offers the best instrumental of the record, following its singular verse with a building assault of thick, punchy synths signaling the break of day. Talos has certainly created a specific mood with his music, a mood inspired by the wildernesses and wonderment around, and he's good at it. The next part of his journey will be to descend from the ambiguous ether into a grounded and personal state of songcraft where his sense of wonder will be better expressed.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.