Friday, January 12, 2018

Music Review: Typhoon "Offerings" (Roll Call Records)

"Offerings" begins with a spoken warning: "Listen, of all the things you are about to lose, this will be the most painful".    Perhaps the most redeeming quality of Typhoon is that on the surface they appear in some ways as if everything is ok, while underneath it all you can tell that it is not.   "Offerings" somehow has become a soundtrack I never knew I needed.   It truly captures that sound of going out every day and putting on a brave face while you slowly die inside.    As the first song, "Wake", sets the tone: "This is not your loss / This is your offering".

On the surface, Typhoon can sound to me like one of those college radio indie rock bands (whatever that means).    They have that feel of something like Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, though to be fair I only know him for that one song from the radio all those years back.   But what sets Typhoon apart is that their music style does take on that stance at first, but there are added layers to it.    A perfect example of this comes around the five minute marker in the song "Empiricist".   What was slowing down, fading out, suddenly turns into this loud march of drums as if some other song has started. 

And yes, I am infamous for listening to something on my laptop, then opening a link and having the music start playing on its own and I didn't even realize it.  So I thought more than once that was happening with this album-- I'd look to see who accidentally started playing-- and ultimately I'd end up pausing Typhoon and realize that they had turned into this sound which felt slightly out of place but I feel like in a lot of ways this album isn't out to make you feel comfortable.

If I did such things, this would certainly be my "Album of the Month" for January 2018.   Hell, I'd even put it into the running as an early contender for Album of the Year.  (The bar has been set at least)  You see, I don't like to do the whole AOTY thing, but if I was going to do it I would want it to be something that felt accessible in the sense that it could appeal to the masses (So it has that radio quality to it) but yet at the same time there is something more which makes it not as one dimensional as what you hear on the radio.   That is Typhoon does perfectly on this album.   Kids can sing along to a song and have no idea.

I feel like I always need to clarify myself because people don't always understand because you can read words however you choose.   The thing is, as much as I say this has that sort of radio rock sound to it, you have to understand that even in terms of having that sound it is rather remarkable-- it is something, musically, with which I feel there is no peer.   I can't say what I usually do with radio rock and just go "Oh, this sounds like Radiohead" (or Flaming Lips).   Typhoon has this sound that even if it didn't take these little detours into something deeper (something darker), it would still be a stellar rock record.

This album also tells the story of a man who loses his mind- his memory- and as such begins to lose sight of himself.    You see, I've never been one to struggle with memory (writing helps) but I have struggled with who I am.   So to have that idea of questioning "What am I becoming?" and "Do I like what I am becoming?" is something I dealt with a lot last year and so to kind of have that in musical form to be with me through this journey is nothing short of amazing.   I'm saying I'm not directly going through what the character in this album does, but I can still relate to it.   And, I mean, who hasn't thought (or had it thought about them) such a line as "The part of you I love is still  in there, even if it doesn't know my name".

As far as concept albums go, they aren't something I know a whole lot about.   I feel like I listen to more of them than I know, but my favorite concept album and perhaps my favorite album of all time is called "Trainwreck" by Boys Night Out, and so similarly I enjoy that this has that story to tell from the first to last track.   It also has a lot of the same feelings for me, starting 2018, as I did for Richard Edwards back in 2017 and it's just... It's not easy to find something that you can relate to so deeply and so personally, but I feel like "Offerings" is something which will stick with me and I'll not fully embrace it until maybe even ten years from now. 

On the second to last song, at the very end, that line comes back from the very beginning.    Listening to this album in full, every time I reach the end I feel like a part of me has been taken.   It's hard to explain, but I can only imagine what it must have been like to make this album since I feel like it's the type of thing that if you listen to it too much you could truly lose your identity in it.    It is not something to be taken lightly (Unless you don't really focus on the lyrics and just like the pretty melodies) and as much as it feels like it destroys a piece of me inside it also feels therapeutic.    It is beautifully broken.  

"Offerings" is available on LP, CD and Digital Download here:

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