Back in the noughties, the UK used to regularly produce bands like Sikth and Aconite Thrill who melded virtuoso musicianship with metal and punk. Maybe alternative music could afford to be a little braver back then, in contrast to today when you have to be more pennywise to survive and a little more conscious of your audiences’ tastes. Let’s Talk Daggers are quite happy to break that mould into pieces.
Second track ‘Brainkiller’ assaults your senses with bombastic beats and rapid-fire lyrics, with the unpredictability of Mr Bungle combined with the smart punk qualities of Capdown. It’s clear that you’re dealing with a band who are absolutely fearless. It’s followed by ‘Magician by Tradition’ which flies along at a hundred miles per second, exploding with colour and variation and with a baseline like a machine gun.
Let’s Talk Daggers are intelligent musicians with an understanding of structure and timing. Their music goes in strange and unusual directions and you’ll suddenly find yourself somewhere you really weren’t expecting to be. It’s like having a machine which can transport you anywhere in the world, except the remote is broken and you have no idea when you’ll change locations or where you’ll end up. Take the aptly-titled ‘I Love You Dad But I’m Mental’ where out of nowhere you’re suddenly listening to Arabic street music.
‘Beautiful Life’ on the other hand has a kind of haunting grunge-goth appeal to it – dark moody and mysterious and at a much gentler pace. They really completely do away with boundaries and it’s rather fascinating to listen to, although it does mean they suffer in terms of stamping out an identity. The band themselves make the point that they want to avoid prioritising showmanship over song-writing but it’s a tough line to walk.
Meanwhile, the track ‘3D Rug’ launches into such a furious, unhinged momentum which you can’t help but wish the band had been happy to make more regular use of. It’s a sound which both appeals and gets the blood pumping and is impressively explosive. I feel like Let’s Talk Daggers are a band who would blow you away live, but it might be harder to feel an emotional link with their music.
It’s great to hear these three lads from Eastbourne bringing some true invention back to alternative music and for this they deserve massive credit. This is an album which deserves to be heard and you should make an effort to do so – although whether it sticks with you or passes over your head will likely divide people down the middle.
’A Beautiful Life’ by Let’s Talk Daggers is out now on Tangled Talk.
Words by Alex Phelan (@listen_to_alex).