"TALKATIVE smells great and looks even better. Real handsome quality guys."
That's what's scrawled in my notebook when I return to the table with my second beer. It's all true, of course, although I should properly attribute that particular quote to the handwriting of Talkative guitarist/vocalist Chad Davis.
The Portland four-piece are in good spirits just before they release their new full-length, Hot Fruit Barbecue, a record that corrals the band's spaced-out experimentation and punk proclivities into its most cohesive collection of songs to date. Talkative's songs—and members—have shifted since 2011's cold, dark Strange Luxuries.
"Our sound has gotten a lot bigger," says drummer Cason Taft, who formed the band four years ago in Eugene with guitarist/synthist/vocalist Cody Berger. "The stuff we're working on now is setting the bar a little higher."
As a two-piece, Berger and Taft worked with samplers, delays, and keyboards, locking themselves in a room and tinkering away to the chagrin of their neighbors. A show with Portland punk rockers Youthbitch in summer 2011 prompted them to write what would become the guitar-heavy Light Years on the afternoon of the show. "It probably didn't sound good, but people have told us it was the best show they've seen of ours," Berger says.
One thing it did was expand Talkative's sound, and their audience to an extent, although the band, which solidified its lineup with the addition of bassist Chad Heile, continues to operate on the fringe of the city's music scene. Over the past few months Talkative have been lying low in preparation for the release of Hot Fruit Barbecue, their first effort recorded in a studio with an engineer. Songs like "Goth Moth on the Black Light" and "Gentrifuckation" are still caustic, but sound like they exist on their own planet, thanks to the touches of producer Jeff Bond (who's worked with the Dandy Warhols and Eux Autres).
The members of Talkative are giddy with the prospect of this bigger sound being released on vinyl, which was made possible through a modest Indiegogo campaign. From here, the members will continue to operate at their own pace. It sounds like they know what they're doing. "The old business model doesn't work," says Taft. "If we're going to make this work, we have to be clever about it."