[SPACE PUNK] If I had a nickel for every time someone likened a buzz-worthy band of stoners with laptops and delay pedals to Animal Collective, I'd certainly have enough cash to purchase a table full of Roland SP-555s and start my own similar outfit. Any old bro with Ableton Live and a Poler hat can create reverb-soaked psych that's ostensibly better while the listener is on mushrooms—the real litmus test is whether the songs are listenable without the shroud of woozy effects and tribal percussion that flutters about in restless ellipses. I can't imagine Talkative's Hot Fruit BBQ working on acoustics alone, but it's a solid effort that may benefit from some reclassification.
At the core of the Portland quartet's latest effort is throttling surf punk that's not far afield from Surfer Blood or Yeasayer. "Rudy Huckleberry" is a pounding, fuzzed-out anthem that's bolstered by bubbling feedback but never reliant on a guy in a mask pushing buttons to keep the melodies afloat. The quieter moments of the record, like the backward acoustics on "Memory" or the echoey flumes of what may be an oboe at the end of "Gimme Some Skin," are clear indicators that Talkative's mastery of space and ambiance is greater than the "fuck it, why not" addition of gauzy abstraction. Strip all that away, however, and you're still left with an exciting collection of youthful punk vibes with a penchant for getting lost in space.
SEE IT: Talkative plays Rontoms, 600 E Burnside St., with Grandparents, on Sunday, June 29. 8 pm. Free. 21+.