You hear the story often of life long friends who start a band and it’s this familial aspect of their relationship that allows the group to feel comfortable, to experiment, to make the kind of music only people that close can. Saskatoon’s Close Talker have leaned into that aspect of their relationship to create their new album How Do We Stay Here. The record is a minimal yet dreamy offering that is so well produced that sometimes that production overtakes the actual songs themselves but in the context of what Close Talker are doing here, it seems that may partially be the point.
How Do We Stay Here kicks off in the dreamiest way possible with “Void”. The hazy vocals don’t kick in till about halfway through the opening track and when they do, all glazed out over complimenting guitars and a slight beat, it comes off as the perfect way for the band to ease you in to what’s to come. When the drums start to pick up with a looping beat near the end of the opener, it carries into the next track “Wait”. It’s here that some of the haze starts to clear and the band begins painting with clearer strokes. “The Change It Brings” sets up a bit more of a hurried pace to the record with its delightfully charged guitar picking. There’s some colourful synth stabs that set up a broken down middle eight that should elicit some goosebumps. “Arms Length” almost feels like Close Talkers take on modern R&B. It has this wonderfully arpeggiated synth rumbling through the song that keeps everything slightly off kilter. The production on the album is so nice and crisp that it actually evokes the feeling of the band singing directly into your ear, giving their moniker a fun new twist.
When Close Talker decides to let loose a bit, the album does benefit from the higher energy. “Pace” certainly adds a new element of energy that we haven’t really heard yet on the record. The choruses here soar with layers of synths and guitars. “Wandering” takes you on a nice little journey during its short running time with some very chiming guitar runs, all anchored by a jazzy drum beat. “Carefully In The Dark” is buoyed by a nice metorik beat and minimal guitar strumming with a lovely soaring vocal melody keeping everything in the bands trance like wheelhouse. “The Lake By The Hotel” is a nice, moody little trip hop esque break in the proceedings. By the time we get to album closer “Refuge”, Close Talker has taken the listener on a chill journey, worthwhile of a sunset or sunrise walk home.
Close Talker have created a new way for fans to hear and see them live with their 3D 360 Silent Headphone Concert series. The audience will be wearing cutting edge headphones, with the music mixed perfectly the way the band wants you to hear them, in real time. Pairing each track with a visual artist to heighten the crowds experience, it seems like this would be the ideal way to enjoy How Do We Stay Here and one that may actually rival this exceedingly well crafted but, at times, repetitive album.
review by Adam Fink
How Do We Stay Here? by Close Talker is out via Slow Weather/Sinnbus Records