The 6th studio album from Italian ska-folk-punk band Talco (which translates to ‘Talcum Powder’) may hear the music listening public of post-Brexit Great Britain asking “have we made a mistake?” or at least wishing they had paid more attention in Modern Foreign Languages at school.
There are saxophones, trumpets, guitars aplenty, sharp drumming accompanying the varied and, at times, very intricate melodies which are carried by all of the instruments not just relying on guitars but allowing other elements to shine too.
Then there are the lyrics, which according to the press release are “bringing together a mixture of themes ranging from political issues to a global decline in culture and historical memory. However, they could be singing the telephone directory for all the sense it makes to this exclusively English-language listener. There lies the only commercial problem with this really exciting and listenable album, a problem often encountered abroad, the British stubbornly believe they have no need of other languages and therefore will not be able to understand the content.
Whilst it is possible to speak slowly and loudly at Spanish waiters who have been so rude as to not learn English up to degree level, the same luxury cannot be afforded to a politically left-wing Italian bands blasting their message from a pair of speakers among a veritable smorgasbord of lovely sounds. On a couple of the tracks, there is the universally sung along with la-la-la or na-na-na. But in general, the vocals, which are perfectly suitable for both the pace and style of music, are excess to requirements.
With the words lost in translation, this concept LP becomes less than it could have been, imagine Gogol Bordello without the laughs, or an Italian cross between Sonic Boom Six and New Model Army – with an added brass section. Cunningly the album has an English title and the same English titled track, still all sung in Italian though. Its limitation is not the fault of these six talented musicians and talented they certainly are, the lead vocalist Dema, has written the book on which this album is based, but more down to British small-mindedness and a worldwide reliance on English in music.
As a nation we have assimilated all sorts of cultural experiences ranging from Fusion Food to Ikea, we are going to miss out if we are not able to do the same musically. Learn Italian, your musical well-being will be enriched if you do.
‘Silent Town’ out on the 16th September via Kasba Music.
This Talco review was written by Richard Dunn, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse. Photo by Sparta Photography