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Review: Talons’- Songs for Boats by jason
April 13, 2011, 9:00 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: ,


Talons’-Songs for Boats. Positive Beat Recordings (LP); Own Records (CD) , 2011.

It started as a joke.

That’s what the book Talons’: Lost Time says of the album Songs for Boats, the follow-up to 2009’s Songs for Babes (Bark and Hiss Records). It was meant to be a jokey EP, but it turned into what might be Talons’ most confident work yet.

In previous albums and EPs, frontman Michael Tolan almost whispered his lyrics, playing they shy, insecure singer/songwriter. On Boats, his voice rings out over the guitars, violins, horns, and clarinets. It’s kind of weird because this may, in a way, be their most insincere album. Previously, most Talons’ songs have been about things that have happened to Michael Tolan…his heartbreaks, his old jobs, his life in Akron. On Boats, however, he imagines himself (and his wife, Sommer), as survivors of an apocalyptic event, taking various boats across the flooded world.

I say “insincere, in a way” because while the album is a concept album about the end of the world, it could just as easily be read as the tale of a loving couple who are leisurely drifting, taking a vacation from the modern world. Read in this way, Boats is typical Talons’, though more solid than they’ve ever sounded.

The songs on this album are beautiful. “Old Kayak” has an almost Haiku quality to it:

Old Kayak
Bee Keeper
Grass Killer
Ghost of the side lawn.

Other songs tell of the narrators deciding to “grow our dreads, start listening to the Greatful Dead again (but for real this time)” and to “get lost in a bazaar & never pay back our school loans.” It’s a post-cataclysmic dream, but it’s one we can relate to in our pre-cataclysmic age.

Songs for Boats can be listened to for free, or it can be purchased at the band’s Bandcamp Page.

-jason

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