Indie is a very loose term these days. Everything seems to be indie. From music to fashion, games to film, and everything in-between. Indie pop is no exception. What then constitutes an indie pop band, you ask? It was originally “a genre whose defining conventions were identified as jangling guitars, a love of ’60s pop, and melodic power pop song structures.” These days it may not be so defining, however elements would tend to lean to the softer side of rock n roll.
Whatever its meaning, it’s oh so hot right now and indie is definitely “in”, which subsequently means it’s ready to fall and be replaced with the next big hit. Thanks guys.
Foreign Talks’ self-titled debut album, set for release April 16, certainly aims to cash in on the current wave of intense indie popularity, however it’s overdone and under realised. They seemingly lack any original style, sounding more like a hybrid of Jason Mraz, San Cisco and Local Natives, mixing semi-rap verses and bouncy melodies with perfect group harmonies.
I may be sounding overly critical of this young (not one member is over 20yrs old) new band (formed in 2011), but with good reason. I love indie music, but I also love innovation, artistic flair and artistry, and isn’t that how it began in the first place? By attempting to step away from the mainstream while still being accessible? Think: The Smiths, Velvet Underground and more recently, Sufjan Stevens, The Shins and Bon Iver, just to mention a few.
The opening track “Denial” has potential, as does “Stay The Same” and “The Spell”. Elements of musical ability are there, but more often than not the need to mature rises up with every song. Reminding one of a high school band that would play the occasional house party rather than the next musical sensation. But who knows, the teen audience is a strong one and perhaps that’s where they will find a home full of adoring fans.
It is hard to pinpoint that switch in our consciousness that defines the difference between genuinely enjoyable music and something that’s just a bit naff. For this particular reviewer however, Foreign Talks definitely falls into the latter.