One would be forgiven for thinking Talos would have the audacity to take a breather after the success of debut ‘Wild Alee’. Instead he hopped straight back in the studio to return with second album ‘Far Out Dust’.
This is no sophomore slump by any means. If anything Talos has flourished and allowed himself to explore new sounds and a host of new collaborators.
Lead single See Me marks a stark difference in production as a result of working with Jenn Decilveo. Released in November, the song was a surprising deviation from Eoin French’s signature sound. This is Talos at his most upbeat, and sits tonally at odds with the songs lyrics, which are based on serial killer Ed Kemper. Such was the severity of the departure that French himself stated that “the reason we put that song out first was that, for me, it was the scariest one to put out.”
The soundscapes that were introduced in ‘Wild Alee’ are even more expansive here. The record is filled with recurring themes of light and war- themes which should be jaded but are instead refreshed in a sharp collection of 12 tracks, each a snapshot of a year in transit for French. There is a sense of personal growth both in terms of production and songwriting that differentiates ‘Far Out Dust’ from its predecessor.
2AM and The Flood are both exemplary tracks, with each evoking their own powerful imagery. The former is a slinky number that paints a vibrant picture of the lives we lead at night, while the latter depicts a destructive force of biblical proportions.
Some of ‘Far Out Dust’s most pertinent moments are its quietest. This is seen in Dawn, The Front where Talos’ vocals seamlessly fits together with posthumous sample from pianist Conor Walsh.
Things are pared back in On and On. A piano ballad hinged on French’s piercing vocals, this is his most political song so far. It speaks about everything from social media to the environment. “We live in a silence, it’s in the burning leaves, the grey coal, left on a rusted heap of halos.”
It all culminates in album closer and title track Far Out Dust. At times angry, at times apologetic, but all in all it’s an acknowledgement of something coming to an end. It builds up before ending on the note that “these weren’t wars, they were just wanderings.”
There is little in the way of criticism. If ‘Wild Alee’ was a promise, ‘Far Out Dust’ delivers. As forays into pop music go, it can be considered a massive success. The key elements remain intact: this is a determinedly Talos record that embraces the more sombre corners of the genre without sacrificing its core integrity.