Talk in Code: The Big Screen

Talk in Code’s second album has been out a while, overdue to mention it……

January 2019, and I find myself making several eighties cultural references in reviewing Resolve, the debut album by Wiltshire’s own Talk in Code. A band which turned my aged preconceptions of the “indie” pigeonhole on its head.

For me, wedged in the nineties, imaginings of that somewhat depressing outlook of the riot-grrrl, the post-gothic period of indie my rave fixation required an abhorrence of by default. Though it was hardly mods and rockers in that era, as in we didn’t fight, “ravers” and “indie kids” simply didn’t recognise each other until the remerging of the crossover, through the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy, yet, reflecting, it was always there with Madchester and the progressive Primal Scream’s Screamadelica.

So, who’s up to debate it, does any of it matter now? I likely chewed the ears off of guitarist Alastair Sneddon on the most memorable occasion of a road trip with the band last March! We’re in a period where the trend is to cast-off that nineties flavour in favour of citing influences like U2 and Simple Minds, and I’m game for that, even if the band tend to name more modern inspirations.

The point is, Talk in Code build on this ethos, their sound ever strives towards it, ergo, everything after Resolve increasingly adds to this method, of its standout single Oxygen and its gorgeous dreamy emotions akin to a John Hughes soundtrack, and gradually onward. Yet somehow this panache isn’t regressive, forgive the eighties references, it’s retaining freshness in the contemporary, just allowing a serious nod toward early to mid-eighties feelgood pop.

It’s a fashion which Talk in Code hooked me onto bands like Longcoats, Daydream Runaways and Atari Pilot too, and a scene has developed to the point Swindon’s pop darlings are now Talk in Code; they played the Coleview Music Festival this weekend, entertained crowds during the interval of the Wildcats ice-hockey game at the Link, and generally, the excitement is consistently blossoming for them, and deservedly so.

Back on our outing to Portsmouth they stressed the importance of both gigs and recording, and since their connection to Regent Street Records, there was a keenness in the band to grab wider appeal in anticipation of the forthcoming album, The Big Screen. The release of it was pushed back to accommodate this collaboration but has been up-for-grabs since last month. Having already reviewed many of the tracks of singles I’ve been biding my time, apologies to Talk in Code, but here it is….

To begin, The Big Screen has had nearly as many singles coming off it as Jacko’s Bad, yet the comparisons end there. The opening title-track though, is exclusive, and it rings as the perfect intro as all the shaping I’ve described above. Illogical chronologically follows, their last single released, which I defined at the time as summing up “their undeviating style, upbeat and optimistic,” and suggested it was more danceable than the previous singles.

One of my personal favs follows, Talk Like That, came out back in January 2020, of which I suggested would “blow your diddy-boppers off!” Track four is Hindsight, an album track, perhaps, least one I haven’t heard of, but again, listening to it everything just falling so neatly into place. Talk in Code are so stylised, this flows as an album rather than a collection of singles, and nothing here will disappoint.

April 2020’s single Courage (Leave it Behind) is followed by a cooling new song, Someone Else’s Shoes, which takes on the Wham boys at their earlier best. This is a drifter, but yeah, I said Wham, I don’t know about you, but it got me reminiscing the greatness of Everything She Wants, a hidden gem of their discography often obscured by later hits.

But Save It returns to paced euphoric, and one can’t go wrong towards the finale, as the last three tracks are recently celebrated singles. The Molly Ringwald moment of Young Loves Dream, autumn during lockdown’s neon song Secret and ending on the summery Taste the Sun, dripping in fun, and sunshine…. club tropicana’s drinks are free, y’ know? And in that, a certain moreish finesse we’ve come to accept as standard from Talk in Code shines on.

In all, despite reviewing the singles as and when they were released, it’s worth revisiting as together in the compilation of The Big Screen, you can hear what I’ve been waffling on about with each and every single review, about the tightness of the band to create this uniformed joyous chic of universal pop appeal. Honest, in a Tardis, feels like you could pull out a Smash Hits poster of Talk in Code and blu-tac it to your wall, and your dad will approve. Whatever did happen to Terrence Trent D’Arby?!

Get the album here, s’ only seven quid.


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