In 2021, amid the isolation of the pandemic, the song “Run Away to Mars” went viral on TikTok. The hit single was performed and written by Canadian singer-songwriter Nicholas Durocher (stage name TALK) in his parents’ basement in Stittsville.
Two years later, TALK is back with his first full-length album, Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees. With a more developed sound, the album features ten tracks that build on the themes of loneliness and love featured in “Run Away to Mars.”
Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees starts with “Fall For You,” a track full of energy in both TALK’s voice and the instrumental accompaniment. The song is easy to listen and sing along to and does a fantastic job of inviting the listener into the rest of the album.
The album’s opening energy continues into track two, “Talking to Aliens,” but becomes more desperate than happy. TALK begins the motif of space imagery used throughout the album, and the layered and repeated chorus and bridge create a sense of anxiety that echoes the singer’s feeling of isolation.
The next song, “A Little Bit Happy,” delivers one of my favourite lyrics of the album: “Turns out all of my highs are making love to my lows.” This line perfectly encapsulates the rollercoaster of emotion, from the joys of love to the dark of loneliness, that TALK sings about in the album. The drums in the song’s outro are both powerful and necessary — without them, the bass line does feel a little bit empty.
“Run Away to Mars” follows, the next example of the album’s space theme. With a soft voice and simple accompaniment, this song highlights the uniqueness of TALK’s voice and the album’s core theme of loneliness. For me, this song — especially the bridge — never gets old.
The simplicity of “Run Away to Mars” continues into the verses of “Afraid of the Dark,” but is quickly broken up by the strong instrumentals of the chorus. The contrast is very effective, illustrating the difference between the optimistic lyrics of the verses and the darkness of the chorus.
The next track, “Wasteland,” is an ode to the beauty of anarchy and disorder. The repetition of the bridge lyric “Take you to the wasteland” gives the song a protesting, anthem-like feel. That musical vibe continues into “This Is It,” where an upbeat tempo masks lyrics full of hopelessness.
Though these middle tracks on the album are good, many of them blend together in terms of sound and structure. The same goes for track eight, “History.” The only part of this song that really stands out is TALK’s lower register. His voice is so rich when hitting low notes and I wish he featured that part of his singing in more of his songs.
“Harder It Breaks” follows, a ballad marking a welcome break from the album’s sonically similar middle tracks. With its developed bridge, the song once again touches on the theme of space and is a fantastic feature of TALK’s vocal prowess and the album’s instrumental production. Because of its uniqueness on the album, “Harder It Breaks” is definitely one of my favourite tracks.
Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees closes with the wonderfully appropriate “Set On Me.” Using the imagery of a setting sun, the song perfectly encapsulates the journey from darkness to hope that defines the album. Though I have not enjoyed the repetitive bridges found in many of the album’s songs, in the closer, the repetition works like a mantra. TALK repeats the lyric “I won’t let the sun set on me,” affirming that underneath the album’s loneliness, there is a core theme of hope.
Though many of the songs on Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees may lack significant structural and sonic differences from each other, the album is a cohesion of musical and thematic work. In his first full-length album, TALK’s rich and powerful voice is wonderfully showcased amid strong instrumental accompaniments that are easy on the ears. As the album continues to touch on the main space motif used in TALK’s hit single “Run Away to Mars,” the lyrics of Lord of the Flies & Birds & Bees encapsulate loneliness, love, and hope, intertwining those emotions with one another.