Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Talk Normal: Sugarland

Written by Candace Mills
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I love noise. I do, indeed. The seemingly haphazard genius of Steve Albini's "I like noise. Fuck off" record production attitude was a favorite in my nascient musical exploration. Mostly male-dominated, noise rock is a genre where the female voice primarily stays in the shadows. And shadows aren't such a bad place to make distressed chanting come to life and sometimes scare the bejesus out of a listener. Thus, the Brooklyn-based duo Talk Normal.
 
I love noise. I do, indeed. The seemingly haphazard genius of Steve Albini's "I like noise, fuck off" record production attitude was a favorite in my nascent musical exploration. Mostly male-dominated, noise rock is a genre where the female voice primarily stays in the shadows. And shadows aren't such a bad place to make distressed chanting come to life and sometimes scare the bejesus out of a listener. Thus, the Brooklyn-based duo Talk Normal.

Talk Normal has all of the hallmarks of a well-oiled No Wave noise band, keeping the staples of sound building intact while slashing and burning their own path of deconstruction. Thank goodness. I don't want to worry about getting hit in the face by a David Yow wannabe when I go see one of these “close to two hundred decibels, I generally need to find an audiologist” rock shows. Leave the assault on the audience outside and give me a good show.

Talk Normal is comprised of drummer Andrya Ambro and guitarist Sarah Register. This bare bones outfit layers ephemeral tracks with hard grinds and repetitious tracks that mesmerize and seduce listeners, bonding them to the performance. Attraction to repulsion, kids. It works.

Could this sound be some kind of nu jazz? Talk Normal’s full-length, Sugarland, commences with hot and heavy dirges, then breaks off into organic eruptions of managed chaos. As is the case with molecular bonds, these changes remind me of the machine that shakes like a top on speed in order to break protons and neutrons from the nucleus. Did you get a visual? Good. It's avant-garde noisy rock and roll.

Hands down, this album is good. No beating around the bush. I would be so bold as to say that it is stronger than many of the noise band full-lengths I've heard in, oh, at least five years. It got my Moroder running and reminded me of how much I adore the Coughs's Anya Davidson’s and Clockcleaner's Karen Horner's siren screams. (I'd rather be berated by these women than anything Lilith Fair could put in my face.) And Talk Normal can hold their own with any testosterone-heavy dude droners as well. Luckily, I've got this album to wear out and dance around the apartment to. My cats aren't too afraid of it, either. A good sign.

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