Track-by-Track: London’s Talk Show Unpack Their Debut LP ‘Effigy,’ a Darkly Alluring Post-Punk Fever Dream

Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath
Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath
Intense, intoxicating, and all-consuming, Talk Show’s debut album ‘Effigy’ is a darkly alluring post-punk fever dream: An all-consuming homage to the nightclub, that sacred, seductive space of connection, release, and full-bodied catharsis.
for fans of Johnny Hunter, LIFE, Fontaines D.C., IDLES
Stream: “Gold” – Talk Show




From Soho and Shoreditch to Bushwick and Berlin, all clubs have a bit of grit; a darkness to them that no amount of lighting can erase, and no amount of paint or plaster can cover up. After all, we go out seeking a release; to connect and disconnect all at once; to be consumed, and to connect with a physical side that often lies dormant during the day.

The nightclub is a sacred, seductive space, and Talk Show’s debut album is an homage – or rather, a musical recreation of that hallowed, cathartic experience. Intense, intoxicating, and all-consuming, Effigy is a darkly alluring post-punk fever dream: A heavy-hitting record that demands to be not just heard, but felt deep down in our bones.

Effigy - Talk Show
Effigy – Talk Show
There’s a hole in my head,
Talk to God when I’m dead,
When you leave me again,
You leave me standing instead.
Uh, can’t touch these bones,
Can’t take this home,
Just feel it, just feel it, gold.
– “Gold,” Talk Show

Released February 16, 2024 via Missing Piece Records, is an utterly hypnotic, endlessly churning, and unapologetically dramatic reverie. Talk Show’s debut album finds the London-based band expanding and evolving the post-punk sound they’ve come to be known for over the past five years, incorporating elements of dance-punk, industrial rock, and noise rock into their arsenal.

And to think, it was just two years ago that we here at Atwood were praising the band’s second EP Touch the Ground as a “feverish gut-punch of visceral charm and churn.”

“Every experience we’ve had the studio has been totally different,” frontman Harrison Swann says, reminiscing on the band’s first two extended plays. [Our debut EP] These People feels like a different band from an eternity ago, and Touch the Ground lay the foundations for us to make an album like Effigy.”

Effigy is and has been an eye-opening experience; it’s not only proved all the reasons why we had to evolve, but also encouraged us to continue in pushing our sound and where we can take it.”

Comprised of Swann, bassist George Sullivan, drummer Chloe MacGregor, and guitarist Tom Holmes, Talk Show hit harder and heavier than ever, working with producer Remi Kabaka Jr. (of Gorillaz) to create nine songs that dwell in the depths – both sonically and emotionally.

Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath
Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath



And yet, the first thing Swann remembers, as we dive deeper into the album, is how much he laughed.

“Working on this record I have never laughed so much in a studio, and I put that solely down to Remi. He is one of the funniest men I’ve ever met. We were all in stitches for a majority of recording,” he tells Atwood Magazine.

“We talked a lot about creating an atmosphere. The films and music we were using as references all had a really clear vision and created a pretty distinct atmosphere. I wanted us to push ourselves so that we got more than just a bunch of songs with a bit of half-arsed artwork. So we really focused on trying to create a ‘world’ or something immersive that you could imagine being as a listener.”

“It’s took us a long time to get to this point,” he adds. “We’ve really pushed ourselves to evolve and get more out of what we were doing, so for that reason alone I feel like now is the perfect time to find out about us.”

Could ya, could ya, could ya, could ya, could ya?
I only wanna dance with my lover,
And it’s left right, left right, this time.
Left right, left right.
Could ya, could ya, could ya, could ya, could ya.
I only drink the wine when I wanna,
And it’s red white, red white, this time.
Red white, red white.




Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath
Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath

Swann candidly describes Effigy as energetic, bold, and assertive; a melting pot of all those things that make Talk Show great.

The album’s name, he says, arrived toward the end of the process, but the songs wear it well – coming together, if you will, as both a literal and figurative effigy.

“It took ages to think of a name, it was like the last piece of the puzzle,” he says. “I liked the symbolism and juxtaposition they can have. I liked how effigies can worshipped or hated. It’s what we worked so hard on in the music. I wanted the album to be littered with contrasting moments or parts. In the process of creating the album and the artwork, we also in turn created somewhat of an ‘effigy’ to a nightclub in itself.”

True to its name, Effigy devours its listeners from start to finish. Album opener “Gold” sets the scene, with dark synth bass and metallic drums sending shivers down the spine as raucous guitars rage and Swann’s voice roars. His impassioned performance, throughout the album, is one to be admired and commended: He sings not just with confidence and conviction, but with an urgency and intensity that’s all-too easily applicable to life in the 2020s.

Every song stands out on its own merits, but must-listen highlights include the guttural, sweaty and smoldering “Red/White,” the explosive eruption “Closer,” the funky, insatiably groovy “Got Sold,” and the immersive, unrelenting, and white-hot “Catalonia,” which closes the album with as much theatricality, heat, cunning, and raw verve the band can muster.

That finale is a common favorite amongst the band as well, who see it as bellweather – indicative of all that they can do, and where they can go from here.

“We wanted ‘Catalonia’ to really feel like a journey through this fictitious nightclub,” Swann says. “So at the start of the track, you’re waiting out in the cold, moving through the building hearing ‘room 1’ and ‘room 2.’ The vocals play with this idea of feeling like either the voice in your head or possibly the person standing next to you, encouraging you. Stitching the best parts of this together, we wanted to create a track that encapsulated the atmosphere of Effigy.”

“It’s weird, dark, and has a real groove to it,” his bandmate George Sullivan adds. “We started by recording 15 minute instrumentals, playing as little as possible to focus on what the bare essentials of the track were. Then we kinda rebuilt the whole thing around that, alongside the concept of walking through the world of the album.”

Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath
Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath



Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath
Talk Show © Ash Rommelrath

For Talk Show, Effigy speaks for itself as the apotheosis of their collective artistry to date.

It’s not a record for the faint of heart, nor does it want to be; rather, Talk Show bring us into their club, drown us in their sound, and wring us out to dry – leaving us in a fitful daze, just like one might feel after a long night out.

“Honestly, we purposefully left a lot of things left unanswered, and open-ended questions. I hope people see the energy we put into the album, but I want people to be able to interpret the music or lyrics that relate most for them,” Swann shares. “No one really wants the magic trick explained to them, you know?”

Wherever you are, and wherever you’ve been – be it Soho, Shoreditch, Bushwick, Berlin, or anywhere else – prepare to be indoctrinated into a new sacred space, and surrender to the seductive, sweltering post-punk sound. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Talk Show’s Effigy with Atwood Magazine as Harrison Swann and George Sullivan take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!

— —

:: stream/purchase Effigy here ::
:: connect with Talk Show here ::
Stream: ‘Effigy’ – Talk Show



:: Inside Effigy ::

Effigy - Talk Show

— —

GOLD 

Harrison Swann: Gold really underpinned the whole album. Both me and George were sending tracks back and forth, tracks mainly by The Prodigy and NIN, and Gold came from those early ideas. We knew we wanted something that was massive with lots of energy. Geo started with the pulsing bass, and I just started mumbling words and lines over top. “Gold coins at the bottom of my pocket” just kinda of fell out. The whole verse then came really quickly and set the path of where we had to go. It’s weird we just knew we had something special to us straight away.
George Sullivan: It was definitely one of those tracks that came together almost as soon as we started on it. We were leaning into more industrial sounds in the production to really help set the scene for Effigy and the beginning the whole project.

Oh! You’re! All! Mine!

Harrison Swann: I think this is my personal favourite on the album. I loved writing the lyrics for this track. I really gave myself a lot of freedom with the words. I wanted each stanza to tell its own little story without necessarily linking to the one previous. Musically we took massive chunks of inspiration from Black Sabbath, particularly the middle drum break. It’s massive. I love it. It opens the set for every show and it really gets a crowd going.
George Sullivan: OYAM went through a few versions before we really nailed down the intention of the track & I think because of this it feels really fresh and exciting. Listening to the likes of Black Sabbath and Serge Gainsbourg helped focus the minimal funk punk verse energy to compliment the weight in the choruses, and yeah like Harrison says its a lot of fun to play out!

Red/White

Harrison Swann: We wanted to really lean into something that was going to be a real mix of guitar-driven electronica. The intention was to then steal drumbeats from DNB, specifically tracks like ‘I Adore You’ by Goldie. We wanted something proper fast.
George Sullivan: Yes! big Goldie references on this one with factory records guitar lines, Joy Division-esque. Finally got the Kaossilator into action to create glitchy drum sounds to counter the most calm breakdown sounds we’ve ever created.
Harrison Swann: It’s quite busy and unsettling, and I wanted my lines to feel like they were being dragged along by the music. We added lots of high-pitched synth lines to give the song an icy feel taking inspiration from stuff like Orbital. We envisioned it being that feeling when you stand in the smoking area of a club, in the middle of January, and it’s freezing cold.

Closer

George Sullivan: We really focussed on creating a seriously tight rhythm section and made this an incredibly fun track to work on. We wanted the bass and drums to sound like programmed parts, removing the ‘liveness’ from them, augmenting the drums with 808 sounds and creating a bass line meant to be played on a 303. Tom’s additional funk guitars on the 4th verse & a clap track brought Talk Show onto the dance floor.
Harrison Swann: Exactly – we wanted to take you from standing outside in the freezing cold straight into the heart of the sweatbox. And we’re so proud of the video for this track and how it visually turned out.

Oil At The Bottom Of A Drum 

Harrison Swann: This song was based on a really really old demo that we reworked to be more aligned with the style of music we’re writing now. I’m really glad it ended up on the album in some variation as we used to talk about the old demo a lot – about it not being recorded or any version having been released. In my head, all I could picture was the music video to ‘Ms Jackson’ by Outkast, with the house falling apart and a storm outside. That’s where I got the line “leaving town for the bad weather. Clinging to the trees til we just know the winner”.
George Sullivan: I remember you tracking vocals for the demo and thinking about the Outkast storm, had a lot of fun imagining the room falling apart piece by piece between takes. Oil always had this big atmosphere that we loved, and lands somewhere between metal and trip-hop, making it a firm favourite of mine on the album.

Got Sold

Harrison Swann: This track took big cues from Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys. Geo brought in the main bass riff and we built it from there. We wanted a track that was gonna be super punchy, with no-nonsense, and it comes in at less than 2:30 mostly on purpose.
George Sullivan: Initially I wanted to create something that had the same snarl as some of the more guitar-driven Beastie Boys tracks. We’ve been referencing a lot of 90’s breaksy tracks since the last EP. We added the wah guitar in the studio, as there’s no such thing as a bad idea in Talk Show, but as soon as we heard it there was no going back and we spent the rest of the week singing it at every opportunity.

Panic

Harrison Swann: Personally, I love how different this track is compared to the others on the album. Recording this in the studio Remi made Geo, Tom and Chlo play the main verse parts over and over and over. I think some curse words were said at the time but the result is a proper locked-in instrumentation, which is then totally contradicted with a really aggressive chorus. For the chorus, the main inspiration was ‘Chinese Bombs’ by Blur, which comes at you out of nowhere and is precisely what we wanted on ‘Panic
George Sullivan: Haha, yes, to put it lightly. Remi gave us a GRILLING to get the verses together. I never thought we’d play like a real ensemble but after a few hours of sweating (joking) we started listening to each other. It was band therapy. Plus – we made another banger.

Small Blue World

George Sullivan:  This was originally meant to be a quieter moment on the album but once we started playing it together it quickly became one of the loudest. I think we first tried it live at a show in Switzerland and it went off, it helped us see it in a different way and since then it just got bigger and bigger.
Harrison Swann: I remember coming across the image online of the ‘pale blue dot’, which is an image of Earth taken from a satellite Voyager 1 from 6 billion kilometres away. Normally space really freaks me out, the enormous expansive space of nothingness, but there’s something really intriguing about this image. I tried to picture standing outside of this imaginary venue looking up at the sky, and seeing these dots in the distance.

Catalonia

George Sullivan: Catalonia is probably my favourite off the album, it’s weird, dark and has a real groove to it. Inspired by Detroit techno greats Drexciya, this track was a real exploration into what Talk Show could create. We started by recording 15 minute instrumentals, playing as little as possible to focus on what the bare essentials of the track were. Then we kinda rebuilt the whole thing around that, alongside the concept of walking through the world of the album.
Harrison Swann: Yeah so we wanted Catalonia to really feel like a journey through this fictitious nightclub. So at the start of the track, you’re waiting out in the cold, moving through the building hearing ‘room 1’ and ‘room 2’. The vocals play with this idea of feeling like either the voice in your head or possibly the person standing next to you, encouraging you. Stitching the best parts of this together, we wanted to create a track that encapsulated the atmosphere of ‘Effigy’

— —

:: stream/purchase Effigy here ::
:: connect with Talk Show here ::
Stream: “Catalonia” – Talk Show



— — — —

Effigy - Talk Show

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? © Ash Rommelrath

Effigy

an album by Talk Show


Talk Show's “Red/White” Is an Urgent, Unrelenting Post-Punk Fever Dream

:: TODAY'S SONG ::

Touch the Ground: London's Talk Show Kiss the Sky with Feverish Industrial Post-Punk EP

:: FEATURE ::


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