One of the best things about Daniel Johns is that he doesn’t really care about what people expect of him.
When Silverchair fans wanted more of the hard rock of ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Frogstomp’, he bravely delivered the experimental ‘Neon Ballroom’ and ‘Diorama’ instead.
Now that Silverchair are done, one might think Daniel would make a solo rock album, perhaps merged with the dance elements of his side project, The Dissociatives. Nope. The teenager from Newcastle who everyone thought would turn out to be a Kurt Cobain clone has instead given listeners a genre-bending epic that is part genius and part… well… mental.
First single ‘Aerial Love’ impressed us from first listen and remains as alluring as ever. It’s incidentally a wonderful palate cleanser for what follows.
Over the next fourteen tracks, Daniel plays with multiple genres with gusto, such as on ‘Dissolve’ and ‘Imagination’. ‘Dissolve’ features a Kylie-esque-backing track whilst ‘Imagination’ combines a Sam Smith soul-fueled backing track with Frank Ocean-esque vocals.
Meanwhile, ‘Too Many’ and new single ‘Cool On Fire’ both have a lounge feel to them, creating a sensual chilled vibe.
For the pop aficionados amongst us, ‘By My Side’ and ‘Chained’ both flirt with experimental elements before launching into wonderful electro-pop choruses.
Even ‘Preach’, which we weren’t too keen on when we first got the ‘Aerial Love’ EP, has grown on us substantially.
Just in case anyone wants to accuse Daniel of becoming too conventional, he gets a little bit more experimental for the last few tracks.
There’s the hip-hop inspired ‘Sleepwalker’ which is reminiscent of a Justin Timberlake outro from the ‘Future Sex/Love Sounds’ era. There’s also ‘New York’, which is kind of like Silverchair’s ‘After All These Years’ mixed with soul pop before exploding into its 1980s synthy close.
What this says to us is that, out of the all of the albums we’ve heard this year, ‘Talk’ is the closest to illustrating an accurate image of its creator; It’s complex, interesting and the kind of record you simply cannot take on face value.
There is so much going on, yet everything is somehow in synch.
Sure, not every track on here is a winner, but one almost feels like the fault is on them for ‘not getting it’.
Perhaps the only one of us who gets it completely is Daniel Johns, which is kind of poetic when you think about it.
Anyways, before we digress any further, let’s clearly state that ‘Talk’ is a weird but wicked album. It’s definitely experimental but never strays too far from the pop sidewalk.
Download : Aerial Love, By My Side, Dissolve.