For non-English bands, not singing in English, conquering a decent-sized public in the UK is an uphill struggle. However, when your music is as bawdy and downright enjoyable as Talco’s, the international language of a catchy melody and enthusiastic rhythms is more than enough to overcome linguistic barriers.
It will be lost on non-Italian speakers, but ‘Silent Town’ is actually the third part of a socio-political trilogy and is a concept album based on the book of the same name by the band’s vocalist/guitarist Dema. What won’t be lost though is the exuberance making these songs such damn good fun.
From the word go, there is a real ‘Drunken Sailor’ vibe to this upbeat selection, with a basic template of gutsy guitars, nagging trumpet melodies and punchy choruses with a heavy Ska influence. There are a number of particularly enjoyable tracks like ‘El Sombra’, which despite a slightly darker feel, is delivered with real gusto and features some great guitar work.
Title track ‘Silent Town’ is another high point, its acoustic lament soon turning into another ballsy thrash around of ska, trumpets and hard rocking guitars. They also know how to switch things up with a banjo riff on ‘Nel Varieta’, its chorus of “Nai, nai, nanananai” is especially good fun, while the more measured ebb and flow of ‘Via da Qui’ makes for a very cool track.
Although most songs are in a similar vein there’s enough variety to the arrangements, melodies and instruments to keep it interesting; ‘Dalla Pallida Miro’ for instance is a great mix of stifled ska guitars, banjo picking and swathes of horns. We even get their take on a power ballad on ‘Ovunque’ – it doesn’t take a polyglot to decipher “miséria” and “agonia”, anyone can feel that pain.
On the whole, ‘Silent Town’ is surprisingly good stuff and well worth putting language issues aside to give it a chance – the upcoming live shows are sure to be barnstorming affairs.
’Silent Town’ by Talco is released on September 16th on Kasba Music.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)