Falsetto has been having an indie moment ever since Justin Vernon took to a cabin in Wisconsin in 2006, but it’s artistry from the likes of Talos – aka Eoin French – that still keep it fresh and exciting today.
Far Out Dust starts with subtlety, piano perfectly framing his ethereal voice in “Boy Was I Wrong”, before bursting open with gorgeous synths and emotive vocals. French continues on the same vein in “The Light Upon Us”, blending organic and electronic sounds to create a landscape that feels brimming with sentiment and optimism at the same time. He says of the track, “It’s called ‘The Light Upon Us’… but, the idea of the light… it’s not a positive light. It’s one that erases things. It’s blinding. Something things have to be destroyed for something else to be created. An acceptance that things are supposed to die at some point. Everything has an end.”
With Wild Alee, French’s debut, he seemed constrained, never quite filling the space his signature glowing melodies deserved. Whilst lyrically his sophomore effort still feels somewhat contrived at times – the choice of words occasionally feels more apropos to a rhyming scheme than it does to any kind of expression – Far Out Dust plays out like a long exhale, with French sonically stretching out and pushing the ambient-pop boundaries in which he’s frequently pigeonholed. This is growth.
There are small moments of contemplation diverging with epic flares; perhaps signifying the light and dark French speaks of. “The Flood” opens delicately with French’s whisper draping over intertwining riffs, but crescendos into soaring layers that bring Peter Gabriel anthems to mind, all the while packed with undeniably catchy pop melodies.This album feels cinematic and expansive – it’s about space, but French cleverly breaks it up with stirring vocals and well chosen moments of quiet.
Between the urgency of “2AM”, the dancing pining of “On and On”, and the darker currents in ‘Far Out Dust”, French proves adept at enrapturing the listener. It’s multifaceted without ever straying too far from the prevalent theme – this is a work for inward meditation but also outward celebration and grandeur.
Words Mhairi McDonald.