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TALIA – Thugs They Look Like Angels

Album rating: 8.2 – Thug aesthetics.

Photo: Courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

Photo: Courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

Formed back in 2011, TALIA is comprised of Nicolas Costa (vocals/guitar), Alice (bass), and RV Goardou (Drums). The Parisian rockers released their first record Cockroach Killer back in 2008 and sophomore album Permanent Midlife in 2013. They were the opening act for Soul Asylum in Los Angeles at Whisk a gogo in July 2016. They are now scheduled to open for Nashville Pussy in France in 2017.

There is a sense of earnest angst that is both appealing and hair-rising in TALIA’s Thugs They Look Like Angels. The record screams for being wild and carefree, evoking dormant sentiments that felt inescapably omnipresent at a much younger age. Powered by hammering impassioned drums and serrated guitar, these songs are confessions of human anxiety, rebellion, destructive relationships, and inner doubts that plague one’s daily existence.

Sprawling out with a fussilade of fiery percussions, “American Bride” opens up and immediately places you in the middle of a spry, hyper moment. Moving in a head-spinning tempo, it feels like a loaded lament of expectation not meeting reality. “Billion hours and billion days / No American Bride came my way” chants the frontman Costa. The drive-thru speed paces down in “Play Dead” where the rhythmic density finds a balance between light and heavy parts as the chorus “I just wanna lay down and play dead” discloses the inner lackadaisical mentality buried within the layers of striking chords.

TALIA goes back to the opening intensity again in “It’s Been Oh so Long,” which throbs as fast and high as “American Bride.” But the vocals dissolve within the background and the lyrics become incomprehensible – this is the point where we feel stuck in a bedlam. The up-paced thumps have an irritating tenacity and engulf the storyline of the track. The follow-up is a cheesy punk piece titled “Johnny Bait” where the drums open up before getting invaded by electronic guitar. “You can call me baby / I’m now the one and only.” The lyrics, oozing of cheesiness, are overall cliché but the strong melodic drive is the forte of the track. TALIA goes on a full punk mode in the next song, “Self Induced Fever,” which reminds you of SoCal punk rock like Yellowcard. The track is about the pleasure we get from engaging in self-saboteur activities to kill boredom. “No one’s gotta know what you do,” claims Costa. It is a bit endearing, reminding you of teenage days when you lighted your cigarette for the first time.

The punk howling continues in “High Strung” where the swift, high tempo resonate the chaos of city life. “Walking down the alley way / Thugs look like angels.” It is at this point where TALIA places us into the shoes of outliers – rebels and punks – where we see the cityscape from their perspective. Next, “The Flood,” throws off our guard with calm glimmering guitars where Costa croons about the unstoppable, dooming situations around our environment. But TALIA does not stay in the resting position for so long. They pick up the rhythmic adrenaline in “Over The Line” where Costa recounts about how things didn’t work out as planned. Starting at 1:39, the track experiences a shift in its sonic gear, which gives a refreshing interlude that is not found in others.

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Photo: Courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

If there’s an overarching sense that permeates throughout the entire record is being a non-conformist and TALIA addresses this directly in “Dog Blood.” The trio depicts being at the margin as a necessity more than an option. “Dog Blood” starts off with pouring drums that quickly gets joined by its swarm of strings and synths. “You know you’ve got dog blood running through your veins.” It is an anthem for non-conformists and rebels who need to flush out their daily anti- practices not for the sake of annoying others, but for their own sanity as well. TALIA wraps up the record with “Bounty Killers,” which addresses a toxic relationship that one can’t simply leave. Thugs They Look Like Angels zig-zags between punk and rock, giving us a scope into the inner rebel we all carry alongside all the insecurities and fear that come with it.

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