Album Review: Strange Talk – Cast Away
Australian quartet, Strange Talk, finally released their debut album Cast Away. The group contains a talented dance producer with a DJ background, a classically trained violinist, and two experienced funk/soul musicians. Strange Talk scored a Billboard Uncharted hit with their single, “Climbing Walls” last year. Inspiration for this album was drawn from M83, Phoenix, Bloc Party, and Daft Punk. Their 80’s new wave music style is quite popular and has been featured on “Glee”, in ads for American Eagle and Billabong, and in the film “That Awkward Moment.”
The first song of the album captures your attention and doesn’t let go for an hour. The cascading synths and instrumentation of the title track “Cast Away” hook the listener right away and frontman Stephen Docker’s inviting vocals collide with the bright and playful melody. “So So La La” exudes Docker’s experience as a violinist in the Australian Youth Orchestra.
The precise layering of synthesizers in “Climbing Walls” show off Tony Hoffer’s (M83/Phoenix) talent. Its catchy pulses will force your head to bop with the tapping of your feet, while signing “OoOoooOOoOhh” repetitively. Speaking of repetitiveness, Strange Talk surprisingly made “Morning Sun” based around only twelve words, “If we make it through the night, we’ll watch the morning sun.” You wouldn’t think that that would be a favorite song of mine, but it is. A lot of that is based on the musical aspect of Strange Talk and not necessarily their lyrical talent (that seems to be lacking within this song).
In an interview with the AU Review, Docker was asked about the album challenging their production skills and how they overcame that obstacle. He made it clear that they embraced it as a band and took the challenge to stay motivated and fresh. He says, “If we stick to what we know, we tend to get very bored.” With electro-pop music on the rise, it’s hard to stay unique as a band, but Strange Talk went above and beyond, thanks to the help of Hoffer and Eliot James (Bloc Party).
Cast Away as a whole is full of hook-laded dance tracks with a disco-esque feel. The buzzing synths are a Strange Talk trademark, but without the layered vocals and harmonies, funky drum beats, and the splash of the violin throughout the album, it wouldn’t be as enticing. I see a great future within Strange Talk and look forward to seeing these guys live!