Less Talking is a duo consisting of Taylor Stoma (vocals/ukulele/guitar/percussion) and Bob Kling (double bass/backing vocals). Their release Less Talking Live is a live performance at The Spanish Moon. I will say right off the bat the quality is quite good for a live performance. It’s almost surprisingly good at times but it’s certainly is live as you hear audience applause as well as them talking to the audience.
After spending some time with this Less Talking Live I would say it fits most into the freak folk genre. In fact I thought there were some notable similarities to Dirty Projectors. Like Dirty Projectors Less Talking Live balances self-indulgent artistic proclivities with enough solid songwriting to make it work. That being said there were some moments where it seemed Stoma may have been a little bit too much in love with the sound of his own voice and the songs veer towards being artistic for the sake of that alone.
Things start off “Slaves to Our Own Defeat” which is arguably the highlight. The vocals are pleasant and enjoyable on this track and the music is quite upbeat. Lyrically the words are about in the same place as the delivery. It can come off as highfalutin language or ambiguous open-ended poetry depending on how to you look at it. Lines like, “The sand where we stand, is melted by the fires of our fears. / I hope that it's becoming clear, / That this makes the glass / That sticks in our feet” can mean something or nothing depending on the meaning the listener wants to assign to it.
The same could be said for the lyrics on “Tributaries.” If I had to guess I think the song might be about taking a hike to a river but it’s really up for interpretation. Stoma sings, “The smell of green pushes my intuition / To follow the trail of landscape's composition. / There is no wrong / When every single Tributary opens up to one body.” The music is quite good, especially the bass.
“Alien Feelings” has a bit more of a concrete subject that revolves around feeling like an alien in your own body while closer “Plagiarizing Personalities” is a catchy song but you really don’t have much of an idea what this song is about.
Stoma and Kling are talented songwriters and I can appreciate their music. That being said, with this release, they are standing at the precipice of coming off as too ostentatious. As I said before they are balancing this decently right now a bit similar to acts like Tune-Yards, Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors. I have high hopes for their studio album as long as they stay humble and focus on the songwriting and delivery.
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