By Stephen Smit | @StephenSmit92
Through their newest EP, Almost Everything, Melbourne pop-punk outfit Self Talk have established themselves as one of the fastest rising bands in the Melbourne music scene. One year on from releasing their promising debut EP Seeing What I Want To See, they’ve returned, with their newest release showcasing a more honest and diverse side to their songwriting. Luckily for fans of their first EP, they’ve maintained the punchy, high-energy, infectious hooks the band has become known for.
Having toured Australia with bands the likes of Ceres and Luca Brasi, this experience has clearly helped the band’s sonic evolution, as a newfound sense of songwriting maturity leaps to the forefront. All of the EP’s songs come in at around 3 minutes, the sweet spot for a pop record – making it a short and sweet affair while still being memorable experience.
Almost Everything opens with the ethereal ‘Little Song’, a song about fond memories. It begins slowly with a contemplative cello intro which gradually fades quietly into the background, allowing the twinkling guitar tones to create a dreamy soundscape. Together with Stacey Cicivelli’s faint, calming vocals, the song takes the listener for a ride before reaching its atmospheric climax.
‘Bedside Dictionary’ is the standout track from the EP, a reflection on short but strong relationships. It’s a heartfelt and downright catchy song, propelled by high-energy choppy guitar sounds that are complemented by a lively synth which adds another layer as it weaves in and out of focus. It’s a song that could find its way onto a 90s playlist with ease.
‘Old Habits’ is lyrically the saddest song on the EP, deftly disguised as an upbeat, bouncy party tune. While regret is the key theme explored, it’s expressed with such eloquence and enthusiasm that it can’t help but raise a smile. It’s song that should make the listener feel uncomfortable, but somehow it manages to do the opposite – instead, producing a genuinely optimistic sentiment.
‘Skin’ showcases the best elements of the band’s songwriting. The track is very much built upon a ‘less-is-more’ approach, allowing Cicivelli a platform to create some of the most infectious hooks on the record. Despite the minimalistic nature of the instrumentation here, the track hits the right balance, providing enough substance to keep it interesting while still placing Cicivelli’s voice at the forefront.
In a similar way to opener ‘Little Song’, closer ‘Origami’ builds up slowly to an emotive climax. It’s a little more understated, with a droney organ underneath the mix giving the song a sad, haunting vibe. I found the lyrics on this one to be most memorable part of the EP – the straightforward honesty and raw nature of the line “I’m like origami in your hands, / Just fold me into your plans” hits home like no other on Almost Everything. Poetically, it’s the perfect way to end the EP, ‘folding’ the band into our future plans.
Those familiar with late 90’s emo or pop punk will feel a sense of familiarity with this record. It’s as if Self Talk have found their own secret formula to crafting sincere, endearing music while creating this EP – a myriad of addictive hooks, a healthy dose of nostalgia and regret, and a tightly knit band feeding off each other’s energy. Here’s hoping that Self Talk bring all of this and more to their next release.