Michael Talbott and the Wolfkings Freeze-Die-Come to Life

Despite the fact that Talbott is officially a year too late to add "wolf” into his band’s name, this debut is a stunning piece of winter darkness that actually brims with talent and an unerring ear for melody. Yes, for Talbott things are orchestral and slow, but with his sublime voice and knack for an affecting simplicity of instrumentation, this is music that fills a room while you try to discern the layers. Just like any review, it is easy to write about things that impress and here, the pinnacle of Talbott’s talents lie in the penultimate song, "Sing to Me.” Starting with a slow acoustic strum and simple drum beat, when Talbott’s urges "sing to me” over a layered banjo, it is absolutely stunning. Within those three words lie many conflicting emotions and wishes. Like much great downbeat music, it’s a soundtrack to the artists’ life and troubles therein, but how effective it is depends on the balance of music and emotional nakedness. Too much honesty and not enough music will leave everyone feeling awkward, while too much music drowns out the connection the artist needs to make. Talbott gets it more right than wrong, and this equals an absurdly assured debut. Marvellous. (Antenna Farm)