Release Date: Oct 4, 2011
Record label: Glacial Pace Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock
Talkdemonic’s music has been refined since the duo’s 2004 debut Mutiny Sunshine and more than ever it reminds me of film soundtrack music. Unfortunately, the term “cinematic” and the ubiquitous description of instrumental music as “a soundtrack for an imaginary film” are so overused that they have become almost as meaningless as the term “minimal”. All this to say, despite its dynamic mixture of strings and electronics, since Ruins doesn’t come with a film, it almost seems to have an ingredient missing.
Ruins marks the fourth full-length outing by drummer Kevin O’Connor and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Molinaro. If you’ve been following them all along, then you should be fairly well-prepared for what you find here: that now-familiar collision of hip-hop drumbeats and coruscating synth overlayed with the lush, regal sounds of Molinaro’s electric violin (though, unless I’m mishearing, the banjo seems curiously absent from this set). As per usual, the results are uniformly pleasing, if not altogether new or exciting.
In a June interview with his local weekly, the Willamette Week, Talkdemonic’s Kevin O’Connor revealed, “I wrote two albums worth of songs in between Eyes at Half Mast and this one that I threw out because I thought they sounded too much like our last two albums.” Thankfully, he didn’t send his band to purgatory like another Kevin [Shields] did with My Bloody Valentine, but sometimes overthinking is overthinking. Give him credit. On Ruins, the Portland duo’s fourth album and first for Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace label (the Modest Mouse frontman also helped mix the album), there is nary a banjo strummed.
A ruin is the remains of something destroyed – as one might suitably label. But when you consider a ruin, it stretches further beyond the physical aspects we envision. Portland tandem Kevin O’Connor and Lisa Molinaro subtly offer Ruins with embellished instrumental music that stretches to a sonic landscape of sweeping arrangements. There’s a considerable amount of life one would recognize upon seeking a lost ruin and the orchestration on their latest offering is a worthwhile experience.