With the turkey a distant memory, and the new year festivities out of the way, the music fan’s mind starts thinking about the year ahead and what new musical delights will come our way. If top of your agenda to start the year was a dense, complex 70 minute concept album (or at least themed) by a largely unknown band, then Offerings by Typhoon is just the thing for you.
Whilst new to me, Offerings is actually this Portland bands’ 4th long player, and have previously featured on end of year lists from the likes of NPR. This has also previously earned them support slots with the Decemberists, the Shins and Explosions in the Sky.
The album is actually split into 4 sections : Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning & Afterparty, which represent the stages the fictional character at the centre of the albums’ story arc is going through whilst losing his memory. These represent the phases of confusion, chaos, acceptance and succumbing to this terrible fate. Singer/songwriter Kyle Morton explains that he wanted the album to be a journey, both for the character and the listener, by creating a claustrophobic and downright disorienting listen.
Whilst the album is largely guitar based, there are also interspersed choral interludes and string arrangements which whilst adding to the creeping eeriness, are also quite a thing of beauty. Kyle has taken his inspiration from several art genres, but most obviously David Lynch and Christopher Nolan films, such as Memento asking the question what essentially is the quality of someone if the memory is stripped away ? Wow - what a thought...
The albums first 8 seconds are portentious and perfectly set the scene “Listen, of all the things you’re about to lose, this will be the most painful”
I’m deliberately avoiding talking about individual tracks on the album, because to do so would be to miss the point completely. This is an album that demands your full attention to get the best out of it. 10 or so listens in, and I’m still uncovering different elements for the first time. May I suggest you listen on the best headphones you have available, rather than in the car, whilst washing up or any other way distracted. And please attempt to spare the time to listen all the way through.
You will be rewarded by a beautiful, literate and what feels like an artwork of real permanence, so rare in today’s disposable society. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be humming this on the beach this summer, but thank goodness there are still bands like Typhoon making music like this, and there is a place in the musical spectrum for them.