Parisian rockers TALIA are tapping into the American alt-rock dream. Their songs have that L.A. rawk, ‘sit back in the pocket’ swing anchored by the spine of Alice Thomas’ heavy strum, mouth ajar bass lines. On Thugs, They Look Like Angels the power trio has locked into the sweet spot between punk and grunge that served bands like Hole so well. TALIA’s frontman Nicholas Costa’s voice is an odd blend between NOFX’s Fat Mike and Jacob Dylan. At times cracking into a punkish whine, then slipping back into an airy croon. It’s an oddly compelling blend. On their third album, the band attacks the troubles of the city with frustrated energy.
Album opener and lead single ‘American Bride’ takes a page from Courtney Love’s brood. From the karate kick riff to the jangling verse chords, the tune seems to be a descendant from 1998’s Celebrity Skin. The chorus hook is bolstered by Thomas’ bubbling-up bass riffery.
‘It’s Been Oh So Long’ cranks up the adrenaline. Heavy fuzzed out bass drives home this heavy rocker. ‘Johnny Bait’ has Costa’s rasp bobbing and weaving around drummer Hervé Goardou’s rolling toms. The vocal melodies stick in your head without needing so much as a word of them to grasp on to. ‘Self-Induced Fever’ is a soft spot on the album. The tune is cheesy and for a while, bends the band’s brand of driving rock into a sappier pop-punk which does them a disservice. The album’s second last track, ‘Dog Blood’ gets back to a snappy, alt-rock. The moody, squawking tune is the album’s strongest.
On Thugs, They Look Like Angels, TALIA have packed together a tight, bouncy and catchy 10 song collection. Thomas’ bass playing shines on this record. It’s not overly showy but it’s right in your face and under your ass like a firecracker. Songs like ‘Johnny Bait’ and ‘Dog Blood’ are destined to be alternative rock radio staples. They should strike a chord with concert goers while on tour with Nashville Pussy next year.