From Queen to the Dixie Chicks songwriters and bands have written about losing memory through madness or dementia. Typhoon has gone a step further and written a concept album about the torment of losing your mind. “Of all the thing's you're about to lose, this will be the most painful.” The opening statement from singer Kyle Morton sums up the central character of the piece as he surrenders his mental and physical functions.
Lyrically the album is uncomfortable, focusing in on the fragility of the human body. This is matched by a contradictory musical soundtrack that is filled with ethereal beauty, haunting harmonies and occasionally jarring structures. The album takes the form of four movements: Floodplains, Flood, Reckoning and Afterparty, each representing the mental phases that he goes through as he realises that something is wrong. With a fluid timeline that jumps from rebirth, self-awareness and the final capitulation, the album can be as disorientating for the listener as it is for the character. The sparse musical arrangements represent the gradual stripping away of facets of personality to reveal only what is necessary. This time round Typhoon has chosen to steer away from the use of horns, again only using them when essential, and homed in on guitar and vocal based music to create a bleak outlook for most of the album.
When we arrive at the second movement (starting with Coverings) we are greeted by the angelic voice of Shannon Steele and the addition of a lilting violin. Chiaroscuro continues the ambit of loss and the darkness of death. Here Morton's breathy vocal sounds otherworldly, drawing us further into the unknown. Darker shakes things up with a stronger rhythm, almost passing for conventional indie rock, until the final minute of the track where the lyrical desperation really kicks you in the gut. Things end on quite a violent note during Ariadne and Sleep takes us relatively gently into that good night.
Offerings is subtle, artistic, surreal and an often cinematic record from Typhoon. On the whole, it's pretty joyless and don't expect any glossy histrionics or outpourings of grief: the tone of the album is as desolate as its subject matter. There are flowers hidden among the thorns on this record and it's certainly an honest attempt to portray the despair and the loss of one of the most valuable things that we take for granted: our sense of self.
Groupie Rating 4/5