Who says all modern music is boring? Clearly those who do aren’t looking in the right places. Case in point – Let’s Talk Daggers. On A Beautiful Life, the Eastbourne trio clearly aren’t concerned with mainstream admiration or daytime radio airplay, given the general lunacy that their debut full-length has plastered all over it.
And this isn’t just your average, everyday, bit left-of-centre ‘lunacy’ – A Beautiful Life is a full-blown clusterfuck of noise and various angular constructions that are occasionally joined together to make coherent songs. If there was a problem to be identified with this album, it would be that – a bit too often some of the songs here sound more like collections of soundbites and snippets mashed together rather than actual songs, and it makes things feel a but uneven at times. Take the unbelievably well-named I Love You Dad But I’m Mental, for the most part pushing by with jarring, hairpin post-hardcore hooks before slowing down with an almost lounge-like interlude before picking back up again with wave upon wave of blaring horns. Clearly nothing is off-limits for Let’s Talk Daggers, with Blood Brothers-style post-hardcore only being the foundations upon which their temple of antisocial noise is built upon. Casino Coates hacks its way in every possible direction over Steven Berwick’s tumbling drumbeats and William Gunson and Jamie Francis’ call-and-response screeches, while Carvery Vibes blends together intricate riffs Gregorian chants, semi-a capella vocal lines and spacey electronics for something genuinely unheard before, no matter how strident the end product ends up being.
All of that does sound slightly over-critical, mind. The three members of Let’s Talk Daggers are clearly immensely talented musicians, and having the stones to even attempt something as ambitious and experimental as this is something that very few bands possess. Besides, as at odds as each element may be with each other, there are moments where it works. 3D Rug (one the more straightforward, point A to point B songs on the album) shows how piercing riffs and horns can combine for something that’s actually pretty great, while the early one-two of Brainkiller and Magician By Tradition are synapse-frazzling in the very best way possible. You’ll never find these songs on Radio 1’s A-list, but for the inventiveness and willingness to spit in the face of anything even bordering on conventional, Let’s Talk Daggers should be commended.
Still, for every moment of glorious obtuseness, A Beautiful Life does occasionally feel likes an exercise in seeing what Let’s Talk Daggers can get away with, as in the nearly six minute-long closer Semi-Frontiers which incorporates everything from dub to hardcore to tribal percussion to wailing hair-metal solos. It’s moments like this where it feels as though Let’s Talk Daggers are being overly difficult – there’s nothing on here that’s completely unlistenable, but there are areas where it feels as though toning down some of the weirdness wouldn’t be too bad an idea. Still, it’s always the different ones who get remembered – maybe Let’s Talk Daggers could go down as legends someday.
For fans of: Tomahawk, The Blood Brothers, Fat Goth
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘A Beautiful Life’ by Let’s Talk Daggers is released on 23rd October on Milky Bomb Records.