Chattanooga’s verdant music scene has given rise to many bands whose music feels fully formed and complete the moment you hear the first note. But for most artists, this kind of cohesion take years to achieve-and for others, circumstance and time align in just the right way, and we’re presented with a band whose sound has a lived-in quality and feels vibrant and wholly without artifice. And nowhere is this more clearly seen and heard than in the music of Chattanooga folk rock outfit Talking Blues Band.
Composed of singer/guitarist Noah Towe, bassist Sebastian Lozano, pianist Alec Coffman and drummer Schuyler Colling, the band has been kicking around Chattanooga for the past few months, playing shows at various venues. And during their relatively brief tenure, they’ve gathered a loyal following of fans who are anxious for any new music from the band.
Just a few short months ago, the band released “Through the Plains,” a collection of five songs that skillfully treads through Americana rhythms, indie rock melodies and traditional folk harmonies. And though this is the band’s debut EP, it never once sounds like the product of a young band-the songs shimmer, jangle and unfold in unexpected ways. Looking to the pastoral landscapes of bands like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear for inspiration (but not forsaking the more muscular build of bands like My Morning Jacket and The Avett Brothers), they create vast expanses of anthemic folk rock that radiate an iridescent afterglow.
Opening track “Happiness Blues” feels like some adrenalized doo-wop creation-all fluttering beats and cooing melodies. There’s a bite here, though, that keeps the track grounded and anchored deeply in its influences. “Through the Plains” takes a churning and traditional approach. It’s a ramped-up folk rocker that’s bolstered by an elegant set of piano strikes and crashing, clanging percussion. These songs find the band balanced between the cathartic music that seems to bubble just underneath the surface of the record and the glistening beauty of their folk ancestors.
Talking Blues Band could just as easily have been another Mumford & Sons clone, but their drive and creative spark keep them well above the beats of their genial indie folk brethren. “The Wait” ebbs and flows like a receding tidal wave, its acoustic guitar and gentle melodies brushing up against Towe’s affecting voice. “Is It Alright” tosses in some mournful strings and elegiac piano, and comes away as one of the band’s most forthright and honestly emotional songs.
But the stage belongs to “Winter in the Key of C Major,” a thumping rocker that takes the best parts of each of the previous songs and meshes them together flawlessly. It’s a fascinating study in rhythmic buildup, with the song circling itself again and again until it can no longer move-at which point it explodes outward, casting Southern rock riffs, emphatic percussive blasts and deconstructed folk rhythms skyward. It’s a whirlwind of sound and tone, a Southern star ready to burst. And all we have to do is be ready when the music starts.
Stream the debut EP, “Through the Plains,” from Talking Blues Band below.