Everybody loves a dose of nostalgia from time to time. On their full-length debut, electro-pop quartet Strange Talk proves that living in the past is sometimes a worthwhile endeavor. Loaded with fun, well-crafted tunes that shimmer, sparkle, and ooze with enough synth to have easily earned inclusion on a soundtrack to a Patrick Swayze movie, Cast Away is sure to put a grin on the mugs of Indie music lovers the world over.
Originally conceived of as a duo after vocalist Stephen Docker and bassist/keyboardist Gerard Sidhu met on MySpace (yes, seriously), Melbourne, Australia’s Strange Talk has come a long way in a few short years. After solidifying their line up with the addition of drummer Travis Constable and guitarist/keyboardist Gillan Gregory, Strange Talk rose to prominence in their home country after a successful run on a nationally syndicated radio show’s talent competition. Before long, the foursome was creating an international buzz with the release of their eponymous EP in early 2011 followed by breakout performances at several Australian music festivals.
Strange Talk recorded Cast Away themselves in late 2011 and early 2012 before bringing in mixer Tony Hoffer (Beck, M83) and Eliot James (Bloc Party) to split mastering duties on the new tracks. It’s fitting that the album’s U.S. release is just in time for warmer weather as it maintains an uplifting, euphoric vibe from start to finish and begs to be played at loud volumes from a beachside boombox in the summer sun. Replete with danceable drumbeats, glimmering synth arpeggios, and catchy hooks, Cast Away is equal parts Daft Punk and Depeche Mode, with a dash of Passion Pit thrown in for good measure.
All of the album’s tunes combine to form a single cohesive work and though all feature Strange Talk’s distinctive electro-indie style, the band manages to provide enough variety on Cast Away not to sound stale or repetitive on a listen through. Complete with radio ready pop sing-a-longs (“Eskimo Boy”, “Climbing Walls”), rave style dance get-downs (“Another Day”, “Falling in Love”), and a love song that does Robert Smith proud (Come Back Home), the band takes you on a shiny, loud, and colorful joyride through the 80s and into today.
Cast Away, due for U.S. release on April 29, is an album void of gloom entirely. Strange Talk sets phasers to “cheer” and takes aim directly at its audience. Although their style is not entirely original and they sound tremendously similar to electro-indie pioneers and fellow Melburnians Cut Copy, Strange Talk have managed to craft a record that pays homage to their post-punk influences while still being firmly planted in 2014.