Did the last Arcade Fire album sweep you off your feet, enraging and inspiring you with its damning portrait of modern life? Nah, me neither. Let’s be honest: it was real bad. But there’s a silver lining. Portland octet Typhoon have made the album that Everything Now should have been in a better world. This is a crisp and adventurous rock ’n’ roll record—grand, intense, bleak, dire, trippy. It’s overwhelmingly sincere, but unlike so much awful so-called sincere music it actually defines what it’s trying to defend: the preservation of historical memory, an attitude of nonviolence, an belief in causality and consequence. And most importantly, the music is mesmerizing. The last time a rock record bowled me over like this was The War on Drugs’ Lost in the Dream. Fans of big, emotive guitar music, here is your new favorite album. FCC WARNING: 1, 7 (maybe, your call). Favorites: 2, 3, 5, 9, 10.|
1. (3:49)—FCC WARNING (s***). Slow, dark, bombastic atmospheric intro. Big rock ’n’ roll build with group shouting.
2. *(4:17)—Mid-tempo. The single. Chunky hand-clapping rock ’n’ roll with lots of odd little flourishes (snippets of dialogue, glitchy vocals, silky violin).
3. *(8:35)—Multi-part epic. Starts as a heavy dirge. Sad ambient-folk middle. Swirling, swelling mid-tempo duet. Wonderful.
4. (4:19)—Gentle, spare acoustic guitar in a wind-tunnel. Half-there piano and vocals.
5. *(6:18)—Grand, dreamy slowcore start. Soft horns and strings. Sudden jump in speed to an Explosions-in-the-Sky-esque build. Dissonant, smeary rave-up dissolves into ambient murk.
6. (3:22)—Slow, psychedelic, drumless. Deep, grainy synths. Swelling finish.
7. (4:30)—Borderline FCC (ass-naked). Mid-tempo strumming swerves into chugging, soaring rock. Do I hear cowbell?
8. (0:55)—Slow fingerpicking. Heavily manipulated vocals.
9. *(3:52)—Slow, spacious, somewhat jazzy. Bandmember Shannon Steele takes vocal duties; her singing is washed out and shoegaze-like. Muted post-rock guitars.
10. *(3:10)—Spare guitar, mournful strings. The pain gives way to an essential lightness, a kind of defeat. Simple and beautiful.
11. (3:54)—Slow soul beat and pointillistic guitars. Sludgy middle. Cool drum doubling.
12. (2:50)—Wavering, ominous synths. Chaotic and immense. Soft piano finish.
13. (5:54)—Medium-slow rock ’n’ roll lurch, reminiscent of Magnolia Electric Co or The War on Drugs. Gnarled post-punk build. Loud. Spoken word finish.
14. (12:49)—Begins as simple mid-tempo folk. Turns glimmering and triumphant before lapsing into hallucinatory sound at the five minute mark, approaching noise. Footsteps, voices. Sudden appearance of gang vocals, shifts into a bright-eyed post-rock plod.