Knowing the ins and outs of John Talabot’s meandering musical trajectory is what makes his debut album ‘fin’ all the more interesting. Talabot (under a different moniker) has long carved out a place for himself as a veteran of Barcelona’s clubbing scene. However, disheartened by an audience with an unwavering affection for formulaic, peak-time club strains, Talabot decided to pursue a new route. With that, he reinvented himself by way of a new name and new direction, turning in the spirited house anthems ‘Matilda’s Dream’ and ‘Sunshine’.
However, development seems a constant theme throughout Talabot’s work and while ‘fin’ still sounds indebted to sun-drenched balearica, more murky shadows seem to be lurking in the recesses. A darker line of focus appears in the form of pitch-shifted vocals and fuzzy, obtrusive synths, sometimes sounding startlingly akin to brooding strains of electronica and new wave synth-pop. There’s a bitter sweet sense of emotion that’s apparent throughout the whole of the album, making for a strong sense of cohesion that nonetheless never stifles to the point of sad predictability. Take for instance the stormy tropicalia of ‘Missing You’, the ghostly euphoria of ‘When the Past was Present’ or the haunting, body-sonic house of ‘Oro y Sangre’. Perhaps its Talabot’s strong grasp of musicality and songcraft that means that the album works as well in the club (‘So Will Be Now’ featuring Pional begs for a loud soundsystem) as it does with quiet moments of reflection and bedroom listening.