Typhoon - A New Kind of House Release Date: March 8, 2011
Record Label: Tender Loving Empire
In today's age, with the Internet and stuff, people download music as fast as their computer lets them. A major way that music is different from the pre-Internet age is that singles aren't quite as important as they used to be. Of course you still have humongous hits on the radio, but people are more impressed by an overall album nowadays. However, something that hasn't changed is the power that a single song can have. Hearing Typhoon's beautiful "Summer Home" is more than enough to inspire a listener to check out the fifth release and second EP from Portland, Ore., natives.
Having already released two full-lengths, an EP, and a split 7", Typhoon clearly knows what it is doing. The fact that the band can even arrange organized music is an amazing feat by itself, as there are now 12 members of the group and maybe even more who contribute on A New Kind of House. On their last release, 2010's Hunger and Thirst, 17 individuals chipped in and recorded something for the record.
But the cohesion and fluidity of Typhoon's music is nothing short of stellar. Captivating to no end, "Summer Home" is the kind of song that inflects an emotion on a listener even upon first listen. The indie rock that introduces the song is something special on its own, with subtly piercing guitars and perfect drums providing the rhythm. After over 70 seconds of instrumentation, listeners are awoken from something of a trace by Kyle Morton's vocals. But it isn't a startling wakeup, as Morton's lyrics transcend the boundary of the music. It's almost like he's singing to you directly with his claim of, "I promise you I'm never giving up, never giving up." The song continues through layered waves of stunning instrumentation, featuring everything from horns to folky acoustic guitars to airy orchestration, and Morton's vocal delivery in the bridge are something to write home about.
Opener "The Honest Truth" and "Claws Pt. 2" are both highlighted by Morton's vocals, but it's important to not look over the musicianship on A New Kind of House. Whether intentional or not, Morton's vocals always seem to be at the forefront of things, but really not enough can be said about the instrumentation. It's nearly impossible to put into words, as so much is going on at once that there are multiple layers to digest. At the same time, the EP never comes across as a challenging listen, inviting in new soon-to-be-drooling-fans to experience Typhoon's brand of indie rock.
The piano-led closer, "Firewood," is a soft-spoken ending to an EP that will almost physically grab new listeners and turn them into fans immediately. It is with an urgent tone that I recommend A New Kind of House, not only to fans of Arcade Fire and The National and bands like that, but to every single person who reads this review.
Regardless of what you might be into right now, regardless of whether or not you have enjoyed the bands that I just mentioned in the past, it's important to listen to this EP because really it's not worth the chance of missing out. I'm not saying that this music is for everyone, but it easily and wholeheartedly has the capability to be adored by anyone. It's doubtful whether any other EP will come close in 2011; in early March, the bar has been set. Do what I did: stream it here, and be prepared to be jarred.