‘Pendulum of Time’ by Non Talkers [EP Review]

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FIRE BURNING IN MY VEINS:

The EP starts off with Fire (Burning In My Veins), a remarkable, romantic, yet optimistic record that is flooded with personal revelations reserved exclusively for those who patiently digest every second of it. It begins with Evita Brantner’s strong but warm voice that lays a very intimate and personal atmosphere for the audience to lean into: “I remember the first time your eyes met mine/ I was caught by your smile which almost blinded my sight” And right after the first lines, we get introduced to Marco Brantner’s voice, who Surprise, Surprise!… is Evita’s husband! “You got me hooked in that moment that lifted my soul” the two sing in unison mirroring each other’s feelings if this doesn’t make you believe in true love, you need to check your heart. A beautiful buildup leads us to the catchy hook which, btw, picks up in enthusiasm and positive vibes musically: “Fire, Fire felt it burning in my veins/ Like a stream of heat that increased the flames/ Of this frozen heart/ Ice, Ice has been melted by this sun/ That rose up from behind the stones/ That were shading my way” I find it curious how this happy chorus carries a tinge of the past heartbreak, of the “ice” one piles up inside before meeting the right person.

The first thing I noticed while listening to this first track was how well the two lead vocals blend. It’s fascinating to me because they clearly have different tones to them and even different techniques in how they approach their vocals and yet they’re still able to blend in such a way that you almost don’t notice when they switch which vocal is slightly forward in the mixing. This is hard to do when you’re trying to blend with a voice that isn’t tonally close to your own. This is the reason that you can blend well with your sibling because the tone of your voices is very similar. And it’s the reason that if you stack multiple vocals of your voice they’re going to blend almost as if they’re one sound. Getting a good blend between two distinct voices is something that I admire.

The other thing I want to mention is how they approach the vocal melody and how that contributes to the tempo of the song. I feel like a lot of times when people want a song to feel upbeat, they focus on the percussion side of things. And that’s a completely viable way of having an upbeat tempo–to go to the instruments that stabilize the tempo of the song–but I find having the percussion section be doing something that enhances the tempo and also having the vocal melody mirroring some of that is a far more dynamic way of writing song.

In this case, during the chorus, there’s a lot of very clipped and staccato pronunciation of the words. The words themselves are only a couple of syllables long, and the way that they hit each of those syllables makes it feel a little bit choppy, which in return makes it feel like the song is moving at a faster pace than it is. And it’s a nice contrast to see more drawn-out words at the end of some of the phrases and the slower and more nostalgic feeling that comes with the verses around those choruses. It’s almost as if the chorus itself is that overwhelming flood of a motion that comes when you meet someone that it becomes really important to you quickly. It has this rushing ahead feeling to the way that they’re singing that makes the emotion and atmosphere of the song.

YOU DON’T FEEL ASHAMED:

You Don’t Feel Ashamed is the second song off the Pendulum Of Time project, and my oh my, it’s a huge change both musically and lyrically from Fire, getting ever-so-close to actual country music. Feeling as if the world was breaking/ Screaming like a cat in a hole” we hear the opening lyrics. Surprisingly, the music video was released an entire year ago, so presumably, the song was written and recorded even longer ago, which means… the Non Talkers had an artistic hunch about the global lockdown that was to follow half a year later. Spooky! The entire message goes to heavily focus on injustice, deceit, betrayal, manipulation, and it could be considered an open letter to all politicians in the world. Yes, all of them. There’s not a single sane person in that “industry”. The Non Talkers sing what we all truly think: “You’re a vulture looking for dead meat/ Hungry for dirty money and tears/ Tempting promises are your bait/ For fooling good people and exploiting their faith”. The instrumental has a predominant feel-good element to it, but that electric guitar and the singers’ slightly angered voice go hand in hand with the message You Don’t Feel Ashamed portrays. And one minute detail that speaks volumes! That moment when Evita’s feminine, heart-warming voice says “you’re full of crap”, you know sh*t is about to go down!

I think that the above little blurb from the band explains the overall message and tone of this song, so I’m going to talk about one specific thing that’s happening musically that I find interesting. In this case, that’s the piano, which is used rather sparingly throughout the song. It does pick up a little bit more when it builds up to the end, but I find it as a very interesting use within the mix of the song.

I’m thinking specifically about the first chorus because the piano key, which is usually a single key during the first two-thirds of the song, is coming in on the second and fourth beat. So at the beginning of the bar is setup basically like you would expect with the vocal coming in on the first beat with the drums. And then the piano key comes in on that second beat. And it’s just that single key which I find interesting as a choice because the vocals, like I was talking about in the first song, are a little bit clipped in how they’re being sung. It’s not as clipped as with the first song, but one word being stretched out. Each word in the first few lines is being followed by the single piano key.

It’s almost as if the piano is being used as audible punctuation. So when they’re singing the title phrase of the song and these piano keys hitting are right after they say each word it emphasizes what they’re talking about. It makes me listen harder to what they’re saying because there is that little emphasis being added after each of those words. This is an interesting musical choice that I noticed throughout the song, and it does happen sometimes with the verses where a piano key will be put in or an arpeggio of some kind to emphasize a specific word at the end of a phrase.

PENDULUM OF TIME:

The third and last song, carrying the very title of the EP, Pendulum Of Time, is the most romantic track thus far, deliberately diving in melancholy while keeping an air of mystery about the true meaning of it. When you watch the music video, it is pretty obvious the song explains the trials and errors, the slow and the fast times, the ups and downs, the destiny and the intentional choices about love… Or does it? If you listen just to the song itself, “I’ve done the best I can do/ with my designated time/ the rest was not for me to decide/ how to live my life”, it can bring you to tears as it acts like an introspective on the entirety of your life on earth. Plainly put, the song can be juxtaposed to both love for others, and love for and within yourself. It is a song of sombre majesty, of musical brilliance and versatility, of timeless meaning and profound emotional after-effects. I also strongly believe this is the song where Evita’s voice shines the brightest and is at its most comfortable place in her register. It just sounds effortless and soulful all the way through. Lovely!

One of the things that I noticed about this song was that Marco is pulling back on his vocals to the point where I don’t think he’s sings through most of it. I’m not even sure if he’s the one doing some of the backing vocals or if one of the other members of the band might be because it’s so pulled back in the mix. I like about this because the song is very introspective, and melancholy that having that very faint backing vocal makes it sound almost like an echo. It’s kind of like a slightly distorted, quieter version of the leading vocal. And I think that adds a cool atmosphere to the overall song because there’s a kind of loneliness to the song anyway, but it also reflects how no one can be in your head and have the memories that you do. So as the song recalled different aspects of love and life it makes sense to have a fairly isolated vocal, but having just that little bit of an echo makes it feel like there’s, metaphorically, more space around the narrator of the song.

I also enjoy that the song ends on an instrumental that serves to both play out this reflective song but also the EP is a whole. Instead of ending on any kind of definite endpoint or with anything grandiose the instruments play out of the album and give the listener time to reflect on what they have just experienced.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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