Friday, 1 March 2013

Discovery: The Talks - Friday Night

The Talks are a Kingston upon Hull based four piece that play ska punk around the Yorkshire area and beyond. It's fitting having 'Kingston' in the title, when we look at what the Kingston, Jamaica has given us over the years, including the raw elements of The Talks, although their sound is firmly buried deep inside Coventry 2 Tone ska. The four piece supported The Specials on their reunion tour.  Vocalist Neville Staple actually collaborated with The Talks on last years "Can't Stand the Rain", the first single from West Sinister.

We have a few things in common, The Talks and I. They sound similar to one my favourite 2 Tone artists The Beat, I share the same Fred Perry argyle sweater as bassist Iain Allen, and we both listen to Leicester reggae export By The Rivers. Just like "Mirror in the Bathroom", The Talks "Friday Night" is a ska song with happy vibes. Like many American bands, The Talks have added a 'punk' sound to the mix, known as 3rd wave ska. "Friday Night" is the second single taken from The Talks upcoming EP West Sinister. 

I'm positively not the only listener to be put off by an overdose of ska. Going through my ska catalogue is a painful experience, because not all ska releases are good, hell, only a few rare ska tracks are important and listenable as a collection. One exception would be Toots & The Maytals who have always impressed me, even live they have the skill, passion and vibe to keep listeners entertained for hours. I wouldn't be able to cope with a ska festival, my ears would drop off. 

"Friday Night" is an interesting two minute ska punk track. The bass / drums have been mixed well and the electric guitar has a powerful, loud feature to it. Its noise and it's what punk consists of. Without this extra musical nature, The Talks wouldn't have a platform to work from. Bands in this genre can keep churning out the same old mediocre music and never lose a fan for it. The Talks have more instrumentation to belong in mediocrity. The keyboard riff is needed, as is the lack of guitar on the bridge. Ska really does need variations to keep listeners entertained, it's something The Beat have managed to do on all their albums, and in their live performances over the past 30 odd years. The Beat can be an example to The Talks, because having musical variations, structural changes and a meaningful song can be the difference from short term, to long term - and the long term vision of ska belongs in The Talks court.

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