MOMENTUM IS EVERYTHING. The dividing line between musical acts that progress and those that become mired in idle stagnation often stem from their level of activity. Or, simply put, little happens to bands that do nothing. For the last few years it seemed that Talkdemonic was most certainly doing nothing. Following the release of 2008's Eyes at Half Mast, the duo of Kevin O'Connor and Lisa Molinaro went silent. The band parted company with their record label and booking agent, and with the exception of an occasional live date trickling in, Talkdemonic came to an uneventful standstill.
"We were both working a lot and we were thinking about the band; what we wanted to do, where we wanted to take it, and the sounds we wanted to create. I don't think it was really ever an idea that we would stop. We just didn't really want to play shows for a while," explains O'Connor. "We got to that point where you have to sort of question whether or not what you're doing is what you want to be doing with your life."
"I don't think we got close to feeling that we were dissolving this band," adds Molinaro. "We had some obstacles."
They wouldn't be here today if music didn't win out. The band scrapped their plans to finish an EP that was in the works and instead delved into a more complete and thoroughly ambitious undertaking, one that would soon reignite their momentum and take shape as their fourth LP, Ruins, out October 4 on Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace imprint.
As a duo and instrumental outfit, it would seem as if Talkdemonic had painted themselves into a corner that offers little room for sonic expansion, but there is a deep kinetic grace to Ruins. It's a sensation that permeates every single solitary sound you hear on the album, conceived from the relationship between the band's dual components—Molinaro on viola and O'Connor on drums (plus all sorts of other instruments). In fact, if there was even so much as a set of foreign fingerprints on the music of Talkdemonic, it just wouldn't sound the same. The sounds of Ruins have been cultivated as the result of years of collaboration, the joint sacrifice of constantly touring, and so many moments of unbridled creativity spent by each other's side (and no, not like that).
While Talkdemonic's previous recordings ebbed and flowed in tender waves of sound—instrumental music at its most fragile—the expansive Ruins isn't fearful to twist the volume knob. At times chaotic and clamorous, the album has coarse moments of feedback and noise, which balance nicely with the delicate notes of Molinaro's viola. This is most evident on the dexterous title track, which somehow manages to seamlessly cram in a jolting keyboard hook, rumbling bass, isolated notes of viola, and complex eruptions of drums that would make Jaki Liebezeit proud. With layers of sound stacked to the heavens, there are countless gorgeous moments neatly hidden away within Ruins that reward repeat listeners.
"I think it's a reflection of us being cast aside, just making music that we didn't know if we were ever going to put out, or what we were going to do with it," says O'Connor. "The name of the record is Ruins because that's how we felt as a band, to be honest, but at the same time it's a renewal."