The sound of tomorrow and yesterday: Talk-Show blend Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk and McCartney into new pop.
With a nod to the future and a nod to the past Talk-Show make smart music: Lou Reed, Sir Paul, German electronica – a heady cocktail of influence and yet once heard it’s easy to say “that’s Talk-Show alright”.
Hailing from the unlikely musical petri dish of Maidstone, Talk-Show sensed their marriage of raw guitar, honey baritone and retro synth might have legs. Taking demos of their debut long-player Permanent Honeymoon to songwriting legend Boo Hewerdine he agreed to oversee production. Boo recalls: “These bittersweet vignettes of love gone wrong, right, and everything in between were a kind of new-wave Aspects Of Love. It was clear Lawrence [O’Shea, writer] had a singular voice; an eccentric with a rare gift of making the clever sound simple.”
Boo wasn’t the only one impressed. An early exercise in putting the feelers out, 2015’s appetite-whetting EP All Messed Up (And Nowhere To Go) prompted Sound and Vision to declare Talk-Show “expansive and glorious….as good a listen as the music fan can expect to have…flourishing mastery”. ****
Others observed the “classy songwriting…crying out for radio airplay” (Get Ready To Rock ****), noting O’Shea (a literature major) to be no slouch in the lyric department.
With expectations set, the album comprising 10 hook-laden new tunes has dropped: Permanent Honeymoon boasts a subject-tackling ambition which runs the full gamut from teenage crushes (Molly Ringwald), middle age (Time Thieves), fatherhood (Hello Beautiful), through to wartime balladry (Silent Film) and a blunt plea with the missus to get it on (Sure Thing).
Kick-off radio track is Mademoiselle. O’Shea explains the choice: “Audiences are telling us they hear youthful energy, longing, regret and reflection in the songs. I like to think Mademoiselle encapsulates all these in one burst. Plus it has a chorus that goes ‘do do do’, which never did The Police any harm!
As a live proposition stages have been shared with Squeeze, Frank Turner, Brand New Heavies and others. “However” O’Shea is quick to point out, “this was a previous one-man-and-guitar life; we’re a group now with amps up to 11 and wonky synths. I can’t wait to get back out there! See you somewhere on the road!”
Permanent Honeymoon is out now.
Talk-Show tour the UK in 2018.