One of the biggest mistakes that any young genre-driven band can make, is letting their influences turn into step by step instructions on how to become a band, as though they were putting together a piece of Ikea furniture. And like Ikea furniture, it looks good at first, though after a short while, it starts to give out, pieces break off and it loses its showroom shine.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing but precisely the predicament that South Dakota hard rock trio Talk Rock have gotten themselves into. The title of their second record Vile lives up to its name. The album is loud and filthy with influences that are steeped in heavy grunge riffs, muffled bass tones and drums that often sound like cannon fire. Though these adjectives could also be used to describe a whole slew of hard rock heavy bands from the past, present, and likely the future.
Vile saw a release date less than a year after Talk Rock’s debut album Modern Gripe and though one could argue that points toward prolificacy and proficiency, when listened to side by side Vile simply sounds like a continuation of Modern Gripe though with bigger amps and the volume turned up higher.
Vile opens with the verse chorus verse of “666 Lips,” which despite the nature of its title, comes off sounding more like a hard rock love song. Things begin to pick up with the punky Metz-inspired jam “Seven Wins For Seven Sins,” which is followed by the albums most melodic tune and highlight “Scapegoat” a song that might have sounded better as an instrumental because it lends to the band’s range of instrumentation. That being said the band bring an ample amount of energy and grit.
Ironically enough the next track “New Wrist” a fast heavy punk rock style jam session is an instrumental, though here Swank’s vocals would have been better served. A few tracks later “The River” shows promise and delivers, opening quietly and slowly with finger picked guitars, fluid bass and soft tribal drumbeats, which slowly flow, rather predictably, into the same wall of noise breakdown found on many of the previous offerings.
"Perpetual Cryptic" displays the band in top form as the rip through some of the most memorable riffs of the album, The frantic guitar riffs and intense drumming during the last thirty seconds or so is not to be missed.
The final two tracks “Vile Mouth” and “Kreepen Man” contain much of the same loud guitar, bass, and drum breakdowns, which cause Vile to sound like one continuous track with an occasional three seconds of quiet in between .
In the end, Vile is by no means a bad record (there are a number of notable songs and moments), though it is par for the course in an already oversaturated genre, which contains hundreds, if not thousands of bands who sound similar to Talk Rock. Vile established a solid foundation by displaying the bands innate chemistry and songwriting ability. If they can find that X factor that separates themselves from the masses they will be a force to be reckoned with.
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