Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eagle and Talon: Sharp with Strange Feathers

I like these ladies' work, a lot. Okay. Explanation follows.

E.A.T. (it's on their MySpace page that way, honest) in turn likes Sleater-Kinney a lot and seem to figure they'll be compared anyway. So they apply some humor to it... A couple of their released photos have Kim (the Anglo Canadian, BTW) looking up at the camera in a classic broody pose that looks remarkably like some shots of Corin Tucker from S-K, who she doesn't normally look like, while Alice (the Asian-American) deadpans, well, kinda like Carrie Brownstein. Alice is the drummer and the guys who work with them don't look remotely like Janet Weiss, so that's pretty much the limit of that. Some of their songs have a definite S-K influenced flavor (contrapuntal dissonant chord progressions for one), but if you're a Sleater-Kinney fan you will know that “influence” is as far as it goes.
Looking at their MySpace site, etc., they have a number of quirky posed photos that press the question, “What is this??” Kim breezing through a fifties-ish diner scene carrying a covered cooking pot. Another in the same general scene with a Mini-Me type character sitting on some asparagus (I think) on top of the, uh, cook pot. (It's Alice with a similar red top, but with white ballet/Tinkerbelle gear below that.) Is it “me sitting on the pot”? Or maybe “Tinkerbelle sitting on the pot”? Another has Alice sitting on what appears to be a washing machine in a utility room while Kim uses a plastic step to try to climb up there (?) where there really doesn't appear to be enough room. Hmm, 'zat have anything to do with the reason Xaviera Hollander said she often stayed home to do laundry when she was a young girl when her family was going out somewhere? We're dealing with a couple of artists with a sense of fun, whether on camera or in the music. Then there are several pics of them looking pretty effectively like little girls, as if they grew up together, which they didn't. Surreal stuff.
So are their lyrics. Trippy, strangely juxtaposed words. But there's a purpose in there, make no mistake. They're just making sure the journey to the goal is interesting and probably gigglesome on the way, like the diametric opposite of expectable wording. Even when literally dead serious, talking about how the choices we make can maim or kill someone for our profit (“Georgia”), they zing it in with a sweetly sung yet sarcastic twist (“They'll trade a baby for a lap dance... they'll trade a finger for a fur coat...”). In fact, “Georgia” is one of their smoothest songs musically and one of the most jarring lyrically. Unforgettable. (Note: This was about the time the nation of Georgia was fighting the Russians over South Ossetia. Coincidence?)
On the same CD, “Thracian”, is “Hot Caught”, a breathtakingly frank praise to the sexual value of, mmm, getting caught. And so forth: “You're all that I see, when he's not with me...” “I like women... I like men in kilts – A little bit of fire, for myself...”
BTW, I asked them in an email if the CD name had to do with the ancient nation or with the phonetic sound (like thrashin'). The answer is apparently Yes:
“thracian pron. "thray-shun" refers to the ancient greek peoples but according to one friend, thrace is still around. and we like the meanings that the sound suggests (to us anyway)”.

Yep, they're fun. And brilliant. And sexy. And I sound way too much like a fanboy.
Fair warning: They'll do that to ya.


The official EAT site
http://www.eagleandtalon.com

Their official MySpace site (check out the video downloads - sound quality not great, but shows how they work):
www.myspace.com/eagleandtalon

A couple of other people's reviews:
Tom Whyman on Line of Best Fit
http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/2008/11/eagle-and-talon-thracian/

Sean on 3Hive
http://www.3hive.com/2008/12/eagle_and_talon.php

Next time we'll talk about Sleater-Kinney and Lora MacFarlane. I was very much into S-K for the past five years and still like them, though there's no new product since “The Woods”. They're the one everyone compares EAT to, to some degree or another. There are some obvious similarities, and there are great differences. Stay tuned.

J

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