We gave the album to a Listener virgin, and this is what he made of it.
If you’re like me and haven’t heard of the genre “talk music” then apparently the album “Time is a Machine” from the US band Listener, falls under this category. While I normally shy away and scowl at any form of new music, like a disgruntled goblin foetus, I found myself really enjoying the quirky nature in which this band is delivered. The vocals are beautifully strange with flowing rants portrayed in the style of the spoken word.
The album kicks off with the track “Eyes To The Ground For Change“. The drums build, getting louder and louder only to fall faster then they ascended, revealing an old west style guitar and the spoken word vocals. I feel this track really introduces you to the whole style of the album. It’s also a grower. It takes a few listens to get used to the strange delivery, but is well worth the time.
After spending some time with the first track, you should be good and ready for track two: “Good News First“. This track has more in the way of a chorus, which features the title line, shouted in a frustrated burst of feeling. The whole track sways between 90’s style indie guitar lines and more, modern American styles of indie. After one good listen to this one you’ll soon be nodding along.
Moving on and we’re at track three named ‘Not Today‘. While its predecessors start off quite lively, this little guy has opted for a calm opening with just guitar building to vocals. This intro has me at the beach in Scotland, right before it all kicks in and suddenly I’m going 90 through mountainous European roads. A good listen on a stressful day.
At a first skim through this album, I knew that Track four, “Tornadoes” was going to be one of my favourites. This number uses the vocals to build to the big ending featuring big guitar and rants that would put politicians to shame. Definitely one of the best tracks on here.
We’re now at track five a song named “I Think it’s Called Survival“. This is another favorite of mine as it kicks off immediately with loud guitar and drums reminiscent of Steppenwolf‘s “Born To Be Wild“, grabbing the attention of the listener. The music then progresses to short stabs of music underlying the unstoppable vocals. At a pinnacle point in the album I feel this track is well placed; just as you might start to slip away they grab you back in and leave you wanting more.
Getting towards the back end of this album and we’re at track six, “Everything Sleeps“. Another quiet start with soft guitar and emotional, almost rapped, vocals. With a truly beautiful, ambient midsection, the dynamics of this track are nothing short of perfect. With music rising and falling throughout, goose bumps are inevitable. A real treat.
“There Are Wrecking Balls Inside Us” hits the penultimate slot on this album and it’s a good one. This track has a weird inspirational atmosphere about it. The kind of song that will put a tear in your eye, a lump in your throat and your fist in the air. If this song can’t crack through the hard metal shell, this society has forced us to have, then I don’t know what will!
Last but not least we arrive at track eight “It Will Happen The Way it Should“. This one plays the most minimalist of the bunch. It remains stripped back and calm right up until the last two minutes of the track where it kicks in with a big open instrumental section before it strips back again and ends. This is a really great way to round off the album, leaving you wanting to hear more.
Overall this album has enlightened and entertained me. It opens with a dazzling that grabs the listener sending them on a musical holiday that mainly features indie. While this may sound bad for some people out there, I urge you to give it a try, you may be surprised.
Words by James Anderson Walsh