Horror Films is the impressive debut EP from LA via Germany singer-songwriter talker. A deeply personal exploration of relationships from a first and third person viewpoint, the EP dives into the most exposed of emotions and sets them to music.
Changes opens up the five track EP and sees Celeste (talker) in an honest revelatory mood - “I’m trying to make changes, but I keep breaking in the same damn place.... is it all in my head, sabotaging myself” - setting the tone for the whole record. The music, a relatively simple beat for most of the song but lifting in just the right moments to emphasise the lyrics, underpins everything but it’s Celeste’s rich expressive voice that makes you feel like you’re in there living the songs with her vicariously.
“You want someone to save you from your bad behaviour” is the opening salvo to the narcissitic subject of Collateral Damage, as she realises the need to break free of a relationship which is impacting on her as she tries to be the heroine with the solutions rather than walking away. As she enforces her message as the chorus approaches that “every time I patch you up, I’m the one that’s getting caught” the song is the empowerment to walk away and not be the victim of someone else’s behaviour and problems. Subtle and understated in the verses, the electronics in the chorus serve to make the song’s message unmistakeable.
Horror Films has a different take on relationships, an arm round the shoulders telling the song’s subject that she understands how they feel because she’s experiencing the same dark thoughts - “show me the horror films playing in your head, all of your darkest fears ... show me your haunted side and I’ll show you mine.” Set to a dramatic backing it’s hauntingly unsettling as it crashes in and disappears leaving you knowing it’s coming back and waiting for it to return on tenterhooks, immersed in the song.
Passive allows Celeste to really demonstrate the emotional quality in her voice as she laments not having stepped in to help someone and letting someone suffer heartbreak. As the song progresses you realise it’s an internal discourse - “imagine being so damn passive, I’m just existing, can’t tell what is missing.” Lyrically anyone who thinks deeply about love and life and misses opportunity will see a lot of themselves reflected in this song although it concludes with the recognition that she needs to break that chain - “Push me down, I wanna have a breakdown because it’s better than walking on this balance beam” - and take a risk to move forwards.
Intimidated completes the EP, set at the start to an acoustic guitar that gives it a more reflective backdrop that intensifies the lyrical theme, the fear of failing and the fear that grows each time you fall as you await the next one. The chorus explodes into life from nowhere and takes the song off in a completely different direction, acting like a catharsis or exorcism of demons - demanding of someone “how do you keep your heart so casual, I’ve never seen someone so comfortable” as the music mirrors a whirlpool of thoughts rushing around the head.
Horror Films is a remarkably assured debut, exploring the human condition with an unsettling truthful accuracy accompanied by instrumentation and a stunning emotionally powerful and forthright voice that accentuates the gamut of feelings that the songs run you through.
The EP is released today. talker's launch show takes place at The Hi Hat in Los Angeles on February 27.